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Sarah's Key (2011)

tomatometer

73

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 110
Fresh: 80 | Rotten: 30

Sarah's Key is an absorbing, impeccably-acted Holocaust drama with minor plot issues.

70

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 10

Sarah's Key is an absorbing, impeccably-acted Holocaust drama with minor plot issues.

audience

83

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 9,012

My Rating

Movie Info

Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married to a Frenchman, is commissioned to write an article about the notorious Vel d'Hiv round up, which took place in Paris, in 1942. She stumbles upon a family secret which will link her forever to the destiny of a young Jewish girl, Sarah. Julia learns that the apartment she and her husband Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what

Nov 22, 2011

$7.7M

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All Critics (110) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (30) | DVD (4)

Thomas carries the weight of the movie, and her usual sangfroid works against her; when she finally makes contact with the deported couple's grandson, the story crumples into sentimentality

December 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scott Thomas's portrayal of her character's emotional transition ensures Sarah's Key will keep your heart open.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comment (1)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

French director Paquet-Brenner occasionally yields to melodrama, particularly in the final act, but he is resolute about not depicting all of his countrymen as Nazi stooges, since many weren't.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thomas' performance is one of brilliant restraint and believable naturalism.

August 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Denver Post | Comments (2)
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It does provide audiences with the satisfaction of seeing and hearing an important truth expressed, and that's better than making you feel good. That's making you feel something.

August 4, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Luckily, the movie has Scott Thomas. She knows her radiance can't be helped, so she uses it here like a searchlight.

August 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comment (1)
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Never quite finds the right balance between the grave consequences of its period scenes and the relative small beans of the present-day ones.

June 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin
Deadspin

A film that plays as a guilty remembrance of a dark corner of French history tucked into a ticking clock thriller.

January 14, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

The emphasis on the writer's relatively trivial if symbolic domestic woes (she experiences a 'miracle' pregnancy in the midst of her research into death) detracts from the power of the wartime scenes.

November 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Makes a powerful impact thanks to the vividness and urgency of its historical scenes.

November 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

I'm delighted to see that the Weinstein Company is re-releasing one of the year's most overlooked films, Sarah's Key, the moving adaptation of Tatiana De Rosnay's international best-seller. It's one of the year's best films.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: indieWIRE
indieWIRE

A very good film that ought to have been a great film, but greatness ultimately proves beyond its grasp -- if only just.

September 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Teary-eyed absorbing Holocaust story.

September 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Loses some force in its latter half but the key story remains gripping. Unlocks 70-year-old horrors so the present can't shut the door on past complicities and crimes.

September 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Sarah's Key a poignant tribute to perseverance.

September 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Illinois Times
Illinois Times

It's a harrowing story of a young girl trying to survive the extermination of everyone she knows. It's also a story of an upper-middle class woman dealing with an unhappy marriage. You just can't give these two things equal weight in a movie.

September 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI) | Comments (2)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Sarah's Key is elevated by luminous performances by two actresses -- veteran Kristin Scott Thomas and 10-year old Melusine Mayance. Fortunately their talent often is able to transcend the contrivances that mar the plot.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: tonymacklin.net
tonymacklin.net

The performances by Kristin Scott Thomas and especially Melusine Mayance (as the young Sarah) are key to the picture's success.

August 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Anything that might convey the genuine horror of the monstrous acts committed against French Jews is delicately avoided by director Gilles Paquet-Brenner's respectful Steadicam.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto | Comments (2)
NOW Toronto

Although a wonderful story, it seems to come out in fits and starts. The slow, meandering pace may be a turnoff to those unfamiliar with the novel. Mayance, in her feature film debut, takes the cake in the acting category. Thomas is a...

August 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum | Comment (1)
Entertainment Spectrum

"Sarah's Key" uses this buried historical incident as a springboard for a potent tale of survival, guilt and hard-nosed reporting.

August 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Were it not for the subtitles, this could easily go out on ITV primetime.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Scotsman
Scotsman

Overly elaborate Holocaust drama nevertheless benefits from the presence of Kristin Scott Thomas.

August 12, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Audience Reviews for Sarah's Key

An American journalist in Paris embarks on a story about the Holocaust and discovers connections between the past, her present marriage and her unborn child. Beginning as an article on the 1942 roundup of Jews in France as they were sent off to Auschwitz, it soon becomes a journey of self-discovery as the protagonist stumbles upon a terrible secret of a family forced out of their home and a young girl called Sarah who makes an impulsive decision to leave her younger brother locked in a cupboard. A film about the Holocaust is certain to be moving, but the circumstances in this one are harrowing, the truth astonishing, and the coincidences as unbelievable as the tragedy itself. It is a journalist's quest to dig up the lives of others and unleash the truth, but this film show the price of these actions. Sarah's Key takes us from Paris to Brooklyn to Florence and ultimately to the centre of the heart - showing that even the truth has its cost. And the sadness, as much as we try to unlock it, can never be erased. 5 stars 10-17-13
October 17, 2013
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Great. Thought provoking. Well done. Perfect mix of the heart wrenching events of lives torn apart, the endless search of who we are, and the depths of depravity that mankind is capable of. Just when I think that I have seen every Holocaust movie around, another pops up. I can never learn enough about this era that tested our humanity...
April 1, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Really good, sad movie. The little girl who plays Sarah is excellent.
March 4, 2013
romy861

Super Reviewer

A fictional story built around historical facts and events, Sarah's Key is an incredibly well-made film which draws us in and never lets go. Even after it's over, the images and emotions linger in my mind. I've been thinking about it for days. Beautiful cinematography, amazing acting from the young actors, and a powerful emotional punch make Sarah's Key unmissable. Read the book first, but do not dare miss this film.
November 16, 2011
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

    1. Julia Jarmond: When stories are not told, they become something else....forgotten.
    – Submitted by Scott R (23 months ago)
    1. Julia Jarmond: Mike. This was not the Germans, this was the French.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Julia Jarmond: On the 16th and 17th of July 42 they arrested thirteen thousand Jews.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Sarahs Schlüssel (DE)
  • Sarah's Key (Elle s'appelait Sarah) (UK)
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