Sarah's Key (2011)



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

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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
PG-13 (for thematic material including disturbing situations involving the Holocaust)
Art House & International , Drama
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Written By:
In Theaters:
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Kristin Scott Thomas
as Julia Jarmond
Niels Arestrup
as Jules Dufaure
Frederic 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
Karina Hin
as Zoé
Joseph Rezwin
as Joshua
Kate Moran
as Alexandra
Paul Mercier
as Michel
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
Nancy Tate
as Alice
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
Yasmine Ghazarian
as Camp Woman
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
Loic Risser
as 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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Critic Reviews for Sarah's Key

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (35)

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

Full Review… | December 13, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | August 18, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top 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 18, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

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

August 5, 2011
Denver Post
Top 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.

Full Review… | August 4, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

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

Bruce Bruce
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...

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Really good, sad movie. The little girl who plays Sarah is excellent.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

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