Sarah's Key Review

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When American journalist Julia (Scott Thomas) begins to look into the fate of Holocaust survivor Sarah Starzynski (Mayance) and her family, she uncovers some bitter truths about wartime France...


Major déjà vu for those who saw The Round Up, Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Tatiana de Rosnay’s bestseller very similarly dramatises the notorious herding of Paris’ Jews into the Vel’ d’Hiv in 1942 — eventually leading to the gas chambers. Kristin Scott Thomas is a contemporary journalist researching the event, becoming obsessed with the fate of a particular family after discovering something relating to her own life. Mélusine Mayance excels as Sarah, the little girl tormented by an impulsive act on the night of the round-up. The historical drama is more compelling than the contrived modern-day doings, but for a classy Scott Thomas striking a deft balance between distress and resolve.

Exceptional turns by Mélusine Mayance and the ever-excellent Kristin Scott Thomas illuminate a tense and compelling story. The contrived modern-day framing works less well.