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Sarah's Key(Elle s'appelait Sarah)

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France · 2010
Rated PG-13 · 1h 51m
Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Frédéric Pierrot
Genre Drama, War

On July 16, 1942, ten-year-old Sarah and her parents were arrested and transported to the Velodrome d'Hiver in Paris, where thousands of other Jews were being sent to get deported. Sixty years later, an American journalist in Paris wrote an article about this raid. Through Sarah's file, she discovers a well-kept secret about her family.

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Variety by

Working in a classical style and genre that rep a far cry from his previous work ("Pretty Things," "Gomez and Tavares, "UV"), Pacquet-Brenner's direction is always respectful if never entirely subtle.


Slant Magazine by Andrew Schenker

Sarah's Key becomes a musing ("meditation" would be too generous) on the importance of uncovering the past that fails to honestly contemplate why such an act is significant.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Sarah's need to save her brother provides the initial raison d'être, but with the mystery is resolved early on Sarah's Key turns into a flimsy meditation on grief.


The Hollywood Reporter by Kirk Honeycutt

The movie gathers momentum with a steady, assured pace, accumulating incidents, characters, secrets and lies until the rush of events is absolutely transfixing. Cinema can sometimes rival the novel in compulsive intensity and Sarah's Key is one such example.


Movieline by Michelle Orange

Though the picture is lovingly and often quite strikingly shot and styled, there are too many dangling and swiftly clipped threads for the film to amount to more than another tasteful Sunday matinee set against one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.


Boxoffice Magazine by Pam Grady

That Sarah's Key never quite descends into melodrama is a credit to the strength of Scott Thomas' performance, more than to the writing.


Observer by Rex Reed

Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner has done an elegant job of reducing a complex piece with many components into a riveting narrative that grabs you by the lapels and refuses to loosen its grip.

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