Monday, November 28, 2011

Sarah's Key: Movie Review


The fascinating story of Sarah and the routine story of Julia.

"Sarah's Key" is Sarah's story. Sarah (Mélusine Mayance) is a young Jewish girl living in Paris in 1942. Her story is an interesting and heart-wrenching one. But Sarah's story isn't told by Sarah. Julia (Kristin Scott Thomas) is a modern-day American journalist, and we also get her story as she uncovers Sarah's story. Julia, unfortunately, doesn't have a particularly good story, at least not compared to Sarah's. She has to adapt to a new apartment in Paris and gets into a fight with her husband, the usual fodder for current dramas. 2011

Directed by: Gilles Paquet-Brenner

Screenplay by: Gilles Paquet-Brenner and Serge Joncour
Based on the novel by Tatiana De Rosnay

Starring: Kristin Scott Thomas and Mélusine Mayance

The majority of the first half of the film is telling us Sarah's story, or at least the crucial parts to the first half of Sarah's life. Sarah and her family were arrested in their home and sent to concentration camps. However, young Sarah (around 8 years old, or so) wanted to save her younger brother, so she locked him in the closet and told him to wait for her to come back and get him. Sarah has the titular key.

As you can guess, that story is awfully tragic, with lots of deaths included. Some were meaningful others just pointless. Unless, of course, the point was to see how much the audience could cry. I suspect that was part of their plan.

A main part of the film, and what everyone seems to be divided about, is that the rest of Sarah's story gets told in present time. We are removed from the horrid events of the war and just watch Julia uncover the remaining the mystery. As I said before, Julia's story isn't nearly as interesting, so the good parts of the film seem to be over. However, it is a relief, especially to the tear-ducts in your eyes, to be removed from the painful past.

"Sarah's Key" has received a number of complaints, including from me, and that's mostly because what it does well, it does really well, but what it does not-so-well, is very noticeable. I was captivated by the young Sarah and her story. Is it a mystery? Not as much as the film implies, but it certainly is dramatic.