Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Summary: Julia Jarmond, 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. (The Weinstein Company) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 30
  2. Negative: 2 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Jul 18, 2011
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Jul 28, 2011
    Excellent performances make the movie effective. Yet the flashbacks have a depth and resonance largely absent from the modern scenes.
  3. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 4, 2011
    It does provide audiences with the satisfaction of seeing and hearing an important truth expressed, and that's better than making you feel good. That's making you feel something.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 28, 2011
    Although this sober film spares us some of the grim, survivalist details, the harrowing adventure from a girl's perspective is so compelling that Julia's simultaneous sleuthing seems like an unnecessary distraction.
  5. Reviewed by: Kerry Lengel
    Jul 28, 2011
    Shown in flashbacks, the story of 10-year-old Sarah Starzynski is powerful, thanks in large part to the luminous screen presence of young Mélusine Mayance.
  6. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 19, 2011
    When Sarah's Key leans into the horror (as it should), it's harrowing. Alas, that's only half the time.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Jul 18, 2011
    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.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Apr 23, 2012
    Interesting and heartbreaking movie in many respects. However....I watched this movie with English sub-titles and these were the worst sub-titles that I have seen in 40 years of watching foreign films. The company who did the subtitles obviously did not either speak French or English - one or the other. The subtitles looked as if they had been done by a computer generated program like Babel Fish or Google Translate with all of the faux pas and oddities that come with using those programs. To me, the screwed up subtitles were off-putting and detracted from the movie. Besides the screwed up translations, there were spelling errors such as words with a Quote Mark at one end of the sentence and no closing quote. One line said something like "I will meet u". instead of "you". These are mistakes that should not have happened in the international release of a movie. Expand
  2. Aug 5, 2011
    A magnificent film,which will keep you completely engaged from the opening scene right through the credits. Totally absorbing and the crowd (mostly grey-haired) were respectfully silent for the entire 2 hours. The movie beautiful weaves the past and the present into a compelling tapestry which has a searing, if not entirely surprising, conclusion. Tears filled my eyes at the conclusion, tears shed for so many reasons. I must admit to a particular affinity for themes of this nature. Nevertheless, I was terribly impressed. Expand
  3. Nov 10, 2011
    Fascinating.! Sarah's story was amazing, gave me one of the most shocking moments in a long time, the ending a bit weak but that does not diminish the merit of a movie that left you wanting to see more.! Kristin Scott Thomas of course fantastic and excellent Mayance Mélusine; favorite phrase "No one decides when I die" Expand
  4. Dec 1, 2011
    An unusual film that combines two stories and the journey of two women dealing with issues that impact their life. Sarah a young jewish girl who survives the French Roundup in 1942 and Julia who late in life becomes pregnant during her investigation into Sarah's life and has to deal with her husbands not wanting the child. It's a quiet film for it's subject matter. The director was careful not too weigh on story more than the other and in the process lost the dramatic impact of both life altering decisions. Kirstin Scott Thomas portrays Julia with a great deal of restraint and reserve. Melyanne portrays Sarah with mostly expression in after she's matured. The young Sarah is excellent but is decidedly held back to let the finding of her brother have a great deal of impact. It really doesn't have the impact that the director intended. The supporting actors are much more interesting in some aspects than the two central figures. The farmer Dufare stands out immediately. Visually it's as quiet as the pace of the entire film. The stories conflict one another without a great deal of explanation for why Julia is so driven to find Sarah and how Sarah who survives the Holocaust can't seem to find that her survival is miraculous enough to build a new life. It's a rather quietly intense film without a great deal of hystrionics. Expand
  5. Aug 24, 2011
    On 16 & 17 July 1942, French police in occupied Paris rounded up over 13,000 Jews in what has become known as the Velâ
  6. Aug 22, 2011
    Kristin Scott Thomas plays a journalist in Paris, who makes personal discoveries as she researches an article on a shameful event: During the Nazi occupation, the French authorities rounded up more than 13K Jews for the death camps. This bi-lingual film alternates between Thomas' quest for truth and the wartime plight of one family. The plot (although somewhat predictable and deliberate) is the main reason to watch. The recreations, while horrific in description, are never horrendous in execution. The emotions stay primarily on the surface and this keeps the film from being emotionally involving. Expand
  7. Aug 29, 2014
    A film is not necessarily successful for featuring a moving depiction of difficulties revolving around the Holocaust. Sarah's Key misses the mark, especially with Kristin Scott-Thomas. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews