Actors: Minnie Driver, Morena Baccarin, Rebecca Ferguson, Debra Winger, Iain Glen
Director: Roger Young
Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: March 10, 2015
Run Time: 90 minutes
Many have recognized the sudden increase in biblical adaptations onscreen, from last year’s release of Noah and Exodus to the upcoming 2015 releases, Mary, Last Days in the Desert, and David and Goliath. Then there are the half-dozen projects in development, likely waiting to see how lucrative this genre revival will be. There is also a similar movement in television, especially among miniseries. Mark Burnett will take another stab at it, with “The Bible” follow up, “A.D.” and many have praised “The Red Tent,” despite being based on a bestselling novel that took liberties with one of the lesser discussed female characters from the Old Testament.
Though it takes time with the material, including all of the twists and turns leading to her conception, the story’s protagonist is Dinah (Rebecca Ferguson), the only daughter of Jacob (Ian Glen). This first means telling the story of Jacob and his four wives, which include Dinah’s mother, Leah (Minnie Driver). There was some complaint from those familiar with their biblical narratives by the manner in which Leah becomes married to Jacob, who truly meant to marry the younger and more beautiful sister, Rachel (Morena Baccarin). These changes range from obvious to subtle, and all seem to take much of the power away from the men for a more women-centered narrative. This is in itself something of a task for a story that begins with an attempt to frame polygamy as a love story.
Dinah is raised by her mother and the other three wives of Jacob, able to be completely open and free within the red tent. This red tent serves a purpose that is fairly obvious considering the coloring, though menstruation has never looked quite as joyful as it does here. Dinah learns from her time in the men-free area of the tent to be strong, which serves her through the many ordeals of her life. The violent nature of the world she lives in, even coming from her own brothers (with the exception of Joseph), gives Dinah many opportunities where this strength is needed. Loss and grief becomes a constant companion, only overcome by Dinah’s faith, hope and the will to continue working towards happiness. The series is just shy of three-hours, split into two episodes.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10
Historical Significance: 7/10
Special Features: 1/10