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An intrepid journalist brings the past to life in this gripping drama. An American based in Paris, Julia Jarmond (Tell No One's Kristin Scott Thomas) has been working on a piece about a French atrocity while planning to move into an apartment that belongs to her husband Bertrand's family. During the course of her research, she finds that 10-year-old Sarah Starzynski (Mélusine Mayance, a sparky presence) lived in the same Marais flat until 1942 when French authorities wrenched Jewish citizens from their homes during the notorious Vél d'Hiver Roundup (Julia's daughter is only a year older). Unbeknownst to anyone but her parents, Sarah locked up her 4-year-old brother in a hidden closet in hopes of returning to set him free him later, but the trio ends up in a transit camp en route to Auschwitz. Sarah will eventually escape, but the years to come will not be easy. In adapting Tatiana de Rosnay's novel, director Gilles Paquet-Brenner, the son of a deportee, moves back and forth between Sarah and Julia, who finds out she's pregnant in the midst of trips to Florence and New York, but Bertrand doesn't share her joy. A French farmer (A Prophet's Niels Arestrup) and a food writer (Aidan Quinn) also figure into Sarah's story, which merges with Julia's as she finds a way to carry on her legacy. Much as inJulie and Julia, the past proves more compelling than the present, though Scott Thomas holds the narrative together with the force of her talent.--Kathleen C. Fennessy
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CastKristin Scott Thomas, Aidan Quinn, Michel Duchaussoy, Arben Bajraktaraj, Dominique Frot, Frederic Pierrot, Gisele Casadesus, Niels Arestrup, Mélusine Mayance, Natasha Mashkevich
DirectorGilles Paquet-Brenner
Genre:  Drama
Release Date:  22 July 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating:  PG-13
Screen WriterGilles Paquet-Brenner, Serge Joncour
Runtime:  France: 111 min
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review by . March 12, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
This big screen adaptation of Tatiana De Rosnay's novel "Sarah's Key," directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner in some way presents the Holocaust awareness message with greater simplicity and impact than its written counterpart. However, sadly, both the novel and the film's major plot line of Sarah and her key is rectified around the halfway mark of both pieces. As the murkier central story of a journalist whose marital issues and unplanned pregnancy shifts the mass horror of the Vel D'Hiv roundup into …
review by . July 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Sarah’s Key, based on the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, is frustrating in that it doesn’t explore a little known chapter in history. Instead, it uses it as a catalyst for a competently paced but strangely unsatisfying mystery. I’m referring to the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup of 1942, a Nazi-ordered mass arrest in Paris in which the French police were complicit. According to records, they rounded up over 13,000 people – mainly …
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