Sarah's Key

2011

Sarah's Key

Critics Consensus

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

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 115

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,367
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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 happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers - especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive - the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. -- (C) Official Site

Cast

Kristin Scott Thomas
as Julia Jarmond
Niels Arestrup
as Jules Dufaure
Frédéric Pierrot
as Bertrand Tezac
Michel Duchaussoy
as Edouard Tezac
Dominique Frot
as Genevieve Dufaure
Natasha Mashkevich
as Mme. Starzynski
Aidan Quinn
as William Rainsferd
Sarah Ber
as Rachel
Arben Bajraktaraj
as M. Starzynski
Kate Moran
as Alexandra
Simon Eine
as Franck Levy
Julie Fournier
as Vel d'Hiv Woman
Paige Barr
as Ornella Harris
Joanna Merlin
as Mms. Rainsferd
Georges Birt
as Richard Rainsferd
Vincianne Millereau
as Nathalie Dufaure
Sylviane Frava
as Bertrand's Mother
Dan Herzberg
as Red-Haired Policeman
Frédérick Guillaud
as Young Richard Rainsferd
Maurice Lustyk
as Man Playing Violin
Charlotte Poutrel
as Adult Sarah
Maxim Driesen
as Young Edouard Tezac
Xavier Beja
as André Tezac
Jonathan Kerr
as Camp Police Officer
Matthias Kress
as German Officer on Farm
Franck Beckmann
as German Officer on Train
Nicolas Seconda
as Policeman 1 Vel d'Hiv
Francois D'Aubigny
as Policeman 2 Vel d'Hiv
Stéphane Charond
as Camp Officer 1
José Fumanal
as Camp Officer 2
Gilles Louzon
as Camp Officer 3
Pierre Nahori
as Policeman on Train
Rosa Herzberg
as Voice 3 Woman
Robert Rotsztein
as Voice 4 Man
Naeva Lissonnet
as Little Girl at Camp
Céline Caussimon
as Nurse Vel d'Hiv
Claudine Acs
as Hysterical Woman Vel d'Hiv
Viktoria Li
as Clinic Nurse
Franck Chailly
as Stretcher-Bearer
Marco Florio
as Italian Waiter
Alice Erskine
as Café Mozart Waitress
Stéphanie Gesnel
as Young Woman at the Window
Gérard Couchet
as Old Man at the Window
Mark Fairchild
as Bob Rainsferd
Melinda Wade
as Young American Woman
Kiley Liddell
as Baby Sarah
Brooke Liddell
as Baby Sarah
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News & Interviews for Sarah's Key

Critic Reviews for Sarah's Key

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (82) | Rotten (33)

  • 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

    Dec 13, 2011 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 4, 2011
  • Scott Thomas's portrayal of her character's emotional transition ensures Sarah's Key will keep your heart open.

    Aug 19, 2011 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Aug 19, 2011 | Rating: 3/4
  • Thomas' performance is one of brilliant restraint and believable naturalism.

    Aug 5, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Wildly inconsistent.

    Aug 5, 2011 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Sarah's Key

  • Dec 04, 2018
    Itâ(TM)s hard to face up to a historical wrong committed by your country, much less your own family. Very hard. And itâ(TM)s a broad spectrum from acknowledgement, to admission of wrongdoing, to educating such that itâ(TM)s less likely to happen again, to reparations. Unfortunately the feeling of shame or a defense mechanism prevents some from taking even the first step, and it brings a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach just thinking about it, for what may be obvious reasons (Iâ(TM)m American). This film tackles Franceâ(TM)s own involvement in rounding up Jews and their complicity with the Nazis after the Vichy government was installed, and I give it a lot of credit for that. The tale of a family of four ripped from their home is told largely in flashbacks, and the truth about the past is uncovered gradually by a journalist (Kristin Scott Thomas) whose husbandâ(TM)s family owns the home in the present. Itâ(TM)s bound to cause a few tears; among other things, the little boy is left behind, hidden away in a locked closet at the last minute, and there are scenes of great cruelty in the camp. There are many powerful moments of both courage and disgrace, but the film gives us nuance; in one piercing scene the journalistâ(TM)s challenges a younger pair who are appalled by saying âWhat would you have done?â? And in that moment we know that answering that is not simple, or even necessarily knowable. After all, what are we doing about the injustices we are aware of today? I was fascinated to find out what had happened to this family, the parents, the girl Sarah, and the little boy all those years ago, and thought the pacing of the film, with its stops and starts, matched the process of uncovering the truth through the mists of time well. Some of the moments which tugged on my heartstrings seemed a little canned, but the story as a whole was balanced, and the ways in which life played out and moved on in its myriad ways seemed realistic. I loved how the uncovering of truth was shown to cause pain and disruption in the lives of individuals in the present, which seemed to be a microcosm of the larger pain in French acknowledgment of these events. The clip of Jacques Chirac from 1995 is powerful, as are these words from the journalist: âWhen a story is told, it is not forgotten. It becomes something else, a memory of who we were; the hope of what we can become.â?
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 17, 2013
    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
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2013
    Really good, sad movie. The little girl who plays Sarah is excellent.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2012
    In 1942, Paris a young girl named Sarah and her parents are arrested, and sent off to concentration camps, where they will struggle through disturbing events, and hatred. But Sarah has locked her brother in a cupboard at home, in the reason that she wants him to be safe, but what she does not realize is that she won't be coming back. She has locked that cupboard, promising him that she'll come back soon. Many years after, a journalist named Julia is to write a story on the deported Jews in 1942. Soon, she discovers that her father-in-law's apartment which she recently moved in, once belonged to Sarah and her family. Her mission is now to uncover her tragic story, and find her in the process. Sarah's Key is a faithful adaptation of the novel, in which follows the same title and is written by Tatiana de Rosnay. This means, that there are both benefits and disadvantages to the film. The benefits are that reader's of the story should be satisfied by the movie because it is practically the same, except at a faster pace. The disadvantages are that because the book moves back and forth between two different stories, there is not enough emotion. First there comes a part of Sarah's fatal story, and then after that there comes a part of Julia's story, which tends to kill the mood after a just a few scenes. It's not that it's a bad plot order, because the book is able to handle it quite professionally. But the movie does not, and this is because of its short time-length. Perhap's the big question here is, "Was Sarah's Key better left off as a book, rather than a movie?" Most wisely, the answer is yes. So, if your interested in this film, you should read the novel first in reason that it is far greater.
    Emmanuel T Super Reviewer

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