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on 30 November 2015
I know I am going to fly in the face of the majority of reviews BUT I found this really boring AND a little 'choppy' at times.Have seen many films on the 'Holcaust' and I find this towards the bottom of the list.Kristen Scott Thomas I find needs 'winding up' at times.Could have been a really good film------but some of this just doesn't make sense.Why would you not search ALL your property completely if you had a bad smell?Won't say any more it may spoil anothers viewing!!!Can't recommend----just so slow and tedious.
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VINE VOICEon 21 January 2012
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This story follows 10 years Sarah young family in Paris 1941 during an unsavoury part of French history when they assisted the Nazi's. It is also told through Christine Scott Thomas in modern Paris researching the events for her magazine. Their's seems to be a link between their story and the way the story is told and unravels is excellent. It just seems to pick the right option in telling the story nearly all the way through. Its well pace, not over dramatised, horrible in places(events not gore), it builds really well and takes you in unexpected directions.

The only slight issue I have with the story is there was one lead relating to America that was too convenient and went against what had happened 2 years before. Some of Christine's family drama took away from the main story, though some really added to it.

Performances are great, bar one wooden magazine office scene. Scott Thomas and Mayance performances are particularly good. The dialogue is interesting as its split about 60 / 40 between French / English, so yes there are subtitles but it wasn't really problem for me - someone that's not watched that many subtitled films.

I've kept a way from the details of the story as I don't want to spoil it for anyone but would definitely recommend the compelling and emotional drama that is so lightly told.
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on 26 January 2012
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
Totally engrossing from start to finish.
It's one of those films where you read the blurb and you think "oh my god this sounds dull", but after 15 minutes or so you'll be pinned to your seat.

Kristin Scott Thomas delivers a flawless performance, couple that with the excellent production values and you're left with a 'propper' film. ie. Strong story-line and visually stunning. All the things a good piece of cinema should be.
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on 31 December 2014
This is such a thought provoking film, "what would you have done?" is a theme that anyone doing nothing to stop the removal of the jews would say now, and it is still true. Knowing you could have done nothing except get yourself killed does not remove the guilt. Imagine that guilt that a young girl, in the innocence of youth to protect her brother in the only way possible is to lock him in the closet promising that she will return. Her fight to make that long journey back, her parents taken away never to be seen again, yet she still kept her promise. Her story is kept in a journal for her son to read the truth after her sudden death and on his father's deathbed is told the truth of his heritage. A truly sad and very poignant story, the french jews treated so harshly by the french police seems to have been hushed, maybe through embarrassment or more likely through shame. A well documented story, very powerful. Kristen Scott Thomas portrays the journalist searching initially for families taken in July 1942, comes across her own traumatic part in this story and how it affects her family and their life is taken over as the events unravel. l loved this film.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Kristin Scott Thomas seems cursed with playing women suffering. In this case a terrible topic (the treatment of French Jewish women and children in 1942 by the French Vichy authorities) is showcased by the life of the American journalist following up on the case 60 years after. The story of the young Jewish girl, Sarah Starzynski, desperate to get back to the Marais and release her brother from the closet in which she locked him (the key of the title) is brilliantly told. You get the full "The Pianist" effect where one feels this event through one pair of eyes. One sees the squalor and the terror, one sees the family fall apart as opportunities to save the brother are squandered with the best intentions. The story is tremendously effective and very well acted.

However, woven into this story is that of the journalist who pieces together the story (there is a Ninth Gate element here). Julia is prey to swarms of pre-Recession First World problems: a husband with other aims, children she can abandon at the drop of a hat, a life in which work can be abandoned for other pursuits and continents crossed and re-crossed for a ten page story with a two month deadline. Never, since Tintin wrote for "Le Petit Vingtième" has journalism appeared so much a relaxed pursuit. The contrast between the two women, Sarah and Julia, is perhaps the point of the story, but I have my doubts. But whatever ones view, the film remains well worth watching for the reminder of what Petain permitted put very firmly in a human context.
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This sensitive film deals with on of the most infamous episodes of the occupation of France, the Vel' d'Hiv. In 1942 the French police, co-operating with the invader, rounded up the Jews living in Paris and for 5 days incarcerated them in the velodrome d'hiver, before carting them off to concentration camps. Some 7500 people were in the velodrome, in stifling heat, no sanitation facilities and virtually no food and water.

The film centres on a modern day American journalist (Scott Thomas) who is happily married into a French family. She starts to research the incident for a magazine article, and finds many things that have a personal cost for her.

Her search centres on the story of one particular family with whom she finds she has some connection. In particular she is interested in Sarah, the young daughter of the family. In flashback we see Sarah's story, as she desperately struggles to find a way out of the situation and fulfil a promise made to her young brother.

As she uncovers more of Sarah's story, we are shown the horror of what the Parisien Jews experienced, and she discovers things that have a profound impact on her own life.

It's all too easy to be heavy handed with such a film, leaving the viewer horrified. But this film is more sensitively done, and while not shying away from the horror of what was done it offers hope and shows the best of human nature as well, in the form of the people who help Sarah. Her story is not as simple as you at first expect, and as the journalists quest nears it's end it leads to some very surprising revelations about Sarah, and a surprising outcome for the journalist. It's moving, and shocking in places, but not harrowing like some. There is a lightnessof touch abut the directing that gets it's messages across without forcing them down the throat. Well acted, well scripted, thoughtful and intelligent, this is a very good film that I would not hesitate to recommend.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The holocaust, it seems, has fired the imaginations of more writers, film makers and other artists than any other event in history. And yet new stories, new ways of approaching the subject continue to emerge. Sarah's Key, set partly in 2002 and partly in 1942, succeeds so well because it makes the history so personal.

The dark secret at the heart of the story not only brings shame on France, but on the family of the protagonist's husband. The image of a small boy locked in a cupboard by a sister anxious to keep him from the Nazis in the wake of the family's betrayal by their neighbours, is haunting. (The stench of the family's dead cat, also abandoned in the locked apartment, hides the child's fate from those who benefit from his family's eviction.)

And so Sarah's Key reminds of us how much we all benefit from sins committed not so long ago and warns that those on the other side of the fence are not so far away.
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on 25 September 2013
The story line is good, which is not easy given the many and varied approaches already taken to the holocaust, and the acting is also good.

The 10 yr Ms Mélusine Mayance is the best part of this film - she going to be a force to be reckoned with in the very near future, especially as I would say her acting skills today already out pace 95% of Hollywood actors. Ms Kristin Scott Thomas is also good but shows signs of tiredness, which is a pity given I have always respected her acting. It would have been nice to have seen Ms Mayance and Ms Scott Thomas acting opposite each other, which was obviously not going to happen in this film.

Unlike many commentators, I will not compare book and film. This is a waste of time and should not detract from one's ability to enjoy a film taken from a book. People who expect any commercial film to match their personal interpretations of a book are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.
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on 13 March 2012
This is unarguably an important film, but it is very well done and creates an excellent watch. The film is well shot, thought out, planned, acted, directed and paced. The story is excellent, the cast impressive (Scott Thomas is almost always brilliant) and the WW2 based story enjoyable, moving and entertainingly poignant.

The story sees a French reporter uncover the tale of an evicted Jewish family in France in 1946, finally sent to concentration camps. The family consists of a son (hidden when captured) and daughter (who later escapes from camp). The story focuses on the little girl, Sarah, and her key to the cupboard her brother was hidden in, and her as she grows up. The female reporter (Thomas) is part of the family who inherited the Jewish family's home.

Emotional, moving, powerful, smooth, slick, glossy but dramatic beauty with an effective delivery of a fascinating, captivating and engaging story.
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on 15 December 2014
As one of our family member was imprisoned and deported by german soldiers during WWII who happened to be my great grandpa. Therefore, I am heavily touched by this kind of story and be able to see what else was happening during this disgusting time. Its very sad that people did not realise what was going on until it was late. Ausschwitz the biggest concentration camp located in Poland which is neighbouring country of Slovakia. They were transfering all Jews or prisoners/rebels from my home country by train. I used to listen to my great grandpa's stories of what he experienced as a rebel in such a difficult time.I was very little but I remember them until now. He was not jewish but after forced occupation by Nazis and becoming part of Germany he decided to be a rebel and used to pass messages to partisans who were living and hiding in Slovakian mountains. Partisans were group against Nazis and together with Czechoslovakian army and Red army they actually stopped the occupation of Slovakian territory. Unfortunately, one day while he was on his mission the Nazis caught him. He told me that he was squeezed in one of the train coach with hundreds of other men,they didn't see the daylight,they barely could breathe,no food,water or space to sleep,they had to be standing for days and if someone wanted to turn around all of them had to do so.He ate whatever was available,insects,flies just to survive.People ware dying right in front him from starving or dehydration.He just remember the day when Red army came to free the remaining alive men. After few years later while trying to adapt to normal daily life routine,learning to eat,drink,etc.He received a badge of honour for participating to save our country Slovakia from Nazis occupation. I won't go into more details but I am very honoured that I had such possibility to hear true life story of WWII in 1944-1945 from my own great-grandpa in his eyes.
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