Sarahs Key is the best movie I have seen in 2011
, 22 Jan 2012
This is a story about a key that affected the lives of two families across two generations. It startled them, moved them and changed them forever, bringing darkness, destruction and death but also light, redemption and life.
Sarahs Key is based on a novel written by Tatiana de Rosnay. The novel was rejected time and again by many publishers until one accepted it. The book became a best seller, was translated to dozens of languages, and made into this film.
Sarah and her little brother Michele are playing in their bedroom. They are joyful and happy. Their mother is in the living room. This is a normal episode that takes place in many homes. The period, however, is anything but normal. It is Paris, July 1942. The serenity is interfered by loud knocks on the door. Open the Door. Police. The mother hesitates. Sarah (Mélusine Mayance), a curious ten-year girl, steps out the bedroom to see what is going on. Her mother opens the door. Two French officers enter the living room and order the mother to pack some essential things and to come with them. They have a list of all occupants of the home. They ask where the father and the little child, Michele, are. The mother, who understands that this cannot be good, says she does not know. Sarah quietly withdraws to her bedroom. She tells Michele that they need to play a game. She asks him to hide in the closet, gives him some water, asks him to be very quiet and promises him she will return, soon. Both Michele and Sarah know that Sarah takes her promises very seriously. Michele quietly enters the closet. Sarah closes the door behind him and takes the key with her.
Sarah and her mother are taken away. Soon the father joins them and with thousands of other Jews they are taken to the notorious Vel' D'Hiv. Sarah is determined to return home to rescue Michele. She promised him. She holds the closet key close to heart. This is the key to her future.
Sixty seven years later, Sarahs story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas), an American journalist in Paris who takes upon herself to investigate the Jewish roundup and discovers that she and Sarah have something in common. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of family secrets and, as a devoted journalist, she is determined to unveil the truth no matter how painful the truth might be. Sarahs key would change her life, and the life of Sarahs child who knew little about his mothers identity and past.
Mélusine Mayance and Kristin Scott Thomas are credible, sensitive and incredible. This is nothing unusual for Scott Thomas. It is the first time that Mayance comes to my attention. She has a great future.
Sarahs Key is the best movie I have seen this year.
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