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Sarah's Key
BLU-RAY disk
12.05.2011 By: Jason Adams
Sarah's Key order download
Director:
Gilles Paquet-Brenner

Actors:
Kristin Scott Thomas
Mélusine Mayance
Aidan Quinn

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An American woman working for a magazine in Paris begins to uncover the truth behind a dark period in French history and her own personal connection to it.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
It’s rare that you don’t hear anything about a movie and then it actually turns out to be good. Based on the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, SARAH’S KEY is intriguing and informative, shedding light on an oft-forgotten tragic moment in history—the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup of 1942.

Though the story revolves around true events, the filmmakers put it in the context of two very personal stories. Kristin Scott Thomas stars as Julia, a modern day reporter, recently relocated to France and starting work on a story about Vel’ d’Hiv—a time when French police, in Nazi occupied Paris, rounded up their own people in inhumane conditions before they were shipped off to concentration camps. As Julia becomes more and more obsessed with finding the truth, we also see her research come to life in the story of Sarah, a little girl whose family was uprooted during the struggle. Sarah has an unfortunate secret (though it’s revealed early on in the movie, I won’t spoil it here) that follows her along her journey, even worse than the unspeakable atrocities being committed around her. As the tales of both women evolve, they also begin to intersect in unexpected ways.

The performances here are great and carry the story along strongly, especially the young actress who plays Sarah. Though both intertwining plots are interesting and kept my attention the whole time, I have to admit that SARAH’S KEY doesn’t really offer anything beyond similar World War II movies. (THE READER is a recent example that comes to mind.) It’s still a gut wrenching story (hard to believe this all happened less than a century ago), but one we’ve seen done before. Though it seems like the film would be a mystery (what’s the key to?), it’s surprisingly simple and straightforward. Perhaps holding back a bit more on Sarah’s story and revealing it little by little would’ve worked better given the back-and-forth format.

Still, if you enjoy (or can appreciate) stories from that period of time SARAH’S KEY is worth checking out for the unfortunate true story it represents.
THE EXTRAS
Making of SARAH’S KEY (1:03:06): This hour-long French produced documentary traces the origins of the original novel and film through interviews (all in French, beware). It covers all the major set pieces in detail with plenty of raw behind the scenes footage. Surprisingly in-depth and revealing.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Though it shares a lot of similarities to other Holocaust-centered movies, SARAH’S KEY still does it fairly well and covers an event that might be unfamiliar to most audiences.

Extra Tidbit: Kristin Scott Thomas is British, but plays an American who is fluent in French.
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