Sarah's Key 2011

Sarah's Key

Critics Consensus

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

72%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 117

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,384

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Movie Info

An account of research by a journalist (Kristin Scott Thomas) into a shameful incident in French history intertwines with a story of a 10-year-old Jewish girl (Mélusine Mayance) from that time period.

Cast & Crew

Mélusine Mayance
Sarah Starzynski
Niels Arestrup
Jules Dufaure
Frédéric Pierrot
Bertrand Tezac
Dominique Frot
Genevieve Dufaure
Gisèle Casadesus
Mame
Aidan Quinn
William Rainsferd
Natasha Mashkevich
Mme. Starzynski
Serge Joncour
Screenwriter
Stéphane Marsil
Producer
Pascal Ridao
Cinematographer
Hervé Schneid
Film Editor
Max Richter
Original Music
Françoise Dupertuis
Production Design
Eric Perron
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for Sarah's Key

Critic Reviews for Sarah's Key

All Critics (117) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (84) | 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

    December 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.

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

    August 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.

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

    August 5, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Both Sarah and Julia emerge as distinct characters whose experiences are hardly comparable but whose perseverance in the face of daunting odds is most honorable.

    August 5, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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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