Sarah's Key [Blu-ray]
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Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas), 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.
Sarah’s Key is based on the book by Tatiana de Rosnay.
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Top customer reviews
She and her husband move into an apartment that has been owned by his family since 1942. Julia soon learns that the apartment has a very tragic history.
In 1942, a lively Jewish population lived in the Marais area of Paris. Without warning the French authorities rounded up the Jewish population to be shipped to concentration camps. We step back in time to those fateful days in 1942. Lively
10-year-old Sarah Starzynski played by the remarkable Mélusine Mayance lives with her parents and 4 year old brother in a flat in Marais. We soon learn the tragic meaning of "Sarah's key" and how lives were changed in an instant. Julia becomes obsessed with finding the fate of Sarah and the truth behind how the Jarmond family came to own the apartment.
One can only imagine the millions of stories that were lived out and lost during WWII. Here is one fictionalized story that gets us to think, "could it happen again?" The French authorities willingly deported their Jewish population to certain death. The French citizens are shown taunting their former neighbors as the Jews are being herded away. I did appreciate a scene of humanity as French peasants threw apples over the fences to hungry children. It was a sign of decency and humanity by some good people who could do nothing more than offer some food to the doomed.
Julia's life is changed forever and she is confronted with the past. Kristin Scott Thomas shines in her role as Julia. The tragedy of the meaning of Sarah's key is devastating to watch. The movie is a good study of people trying to survive in horrific times and trying to understand why some people were willing participants in the tragedy.
The movie touches on a general theme that we have seen over and over again. The tragic past is being confronted. The significance of Sarah's key adds a twist to the story. I felt Sarah's struggle and story was enough for a while film without the present day story. Of course, the present say story would have had more power if we knew more about the Jarmond family during the war.