A moving and intricate tale of the lives affected by a heinous and hugely regrettable event in France’s history.
A moving and
intricate tale of the lives affected by a heinous and hugely regrettable event
in France’s history.
After Roselyne Bosch’s
2010 film The Roundup depicted the
events of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup – a Nazi decreed raid and mass arrest of Jews
in Paris by French Police – Sarah’s Key uses a fictional tale of a young girl
and her family to similarly evoke this national sin. And it is both this
mixture of fictional storytelling against the backdrop of one of France’s greatest
crimes against its own people that makes Sarah’s Key a truly moving film.
Set predominately between events in 1942 and present day,
the narrative intertwines the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup with the exploits of an
American journalist who, while researching into that fateful event for an
article, finds her own life becomes deeply involved in a way she least
Roping together both of these narrative strands makes for an
occasionally stodgy flow to the film, but whether on not you feel the film
really grips you, Kristin Scott Thomas’s
performance as journalist Julia Jarmond at the centre of Sarah’s Key is all the
reason you need to be assured that this is a film worth seeing. Performing as
an English speaking American living in France, Thomas is outstanding with both
a convincing American accent and her fluent use of French. Previous roles in Leaving and Tell No One have also exhibited Thomas’s fine bilingual skills, but
Sarah’s Key isn’t just an example of her proficiency with another language.
Rather it exhibits just yet another wonderfully honest and touchingly heartfelt
performance that we have come to expect from such an incredibly diverse
Tatiana De Rosnay’s
source material also provides a fantastic and interesting character in Sarah,
who embodies much of the physical and psychological torment that the Holocaust
inflicted. And with an adaptation of this controversial and hard hitting book,
it seems for the time being that France and France’s filmmakers are more
willing to re-examine the wounds of their past. Recently films such as Outside The Law and Of Gods and Men have delved into
difficult parts of French history and have delivered dramatic, engaging and
moving dramas. Sarah’s Key is handled well enough by Gilles Paquet-Brenner and deals heroically with a complexly structured
novel on which the film is based. But if the film is to be remembered than more
than just an accomplished piece of work it is thanks to the extraordinary
performance of Kristin Scott Thomas.