Elle s'appelait Sarah

Drama / War

IMDb Rating 7.5 10 15


Downloaded times
December 12, 2020


Aidan Quinn as Douglas Thomas
Brooke Liddell as Sarah Bébé
Kristin Scott Thomas as Jeanne Germain
Niels Arestrup as César Luciani
1015.35 MB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
111 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rayclister 8 / 10 / 10

A holocaust story with a difference

I must admit that I approached this movie and it's subject matter with a fair amount of trepidation given the holocaust theme once again having sat through other movies such as Sophie's Choice, The boy with the striped pajamas and The Pianist. However I must say that the story here was compelling and the performance of Kristin Scott Thomas was excellent as I have come to expect from her in other movies I have her seen her in. Perhaps as it was the French who were first and foremost the main villains in this piece the story of those black days being diluted to a degree by the switch from the past to the present was in some ways a relief from other holocaust movies. Searching for the truth concerning Sarah kept me interested until the final minutes of the film and I recommend it to those lovers of European cinema.

Reviewed by jburtroald95 7 / 10 / 10


When the humble home of a poor Jewish family is raided by a vile strand of the French authorities hoping to get in Hitler's good books, their well-meaning daughter Sarah (a heartwrenching Mélusine Mayance) instinctively hides and locks her little brother in the closet to keep him safe from the unspeakable horrors of the Vel d'Hiv detention centre for Jews. It is only after she and the rest of the family seems well beyond escape that she realises the long-term consequences of her decision and is determined to get back to free him, holding onto that precious key relentlessly as she, like thousands of others, tries her hardest to endure the atrocities of the Holocaust. We as the audience follow this earlier part her captivating story – another of those outstanding tales that are of of a personal nature yet have a grand historical context – mostly on our own, with regular cuts to American-born Parisian-resident journalist Julia Jarmond (the masterful Kristin Scott Thomas) who is writing about the events concerned and soon develops a keen interest in Sarah's life. Her segments are much less harrowing, being set in the present day and involving much more trivial complications than those relating to Sarah, and are actually a welcome relief when they come. Julia's irritating struggle to dissuade her husband (Frédéric Pierrot) from having her get an abortion after she has endured two miscarriages is as poignant a subplot as any in a drama, allowing us to become familiar with her character before we discover the final fate of the girl along with her. Her inquiries lead her to many different people who are linked to these affairs, from her own father-in-law (Michel Duchaussoy) to Sarah's only son (Aidan Quinn), a simple western entrepreneur clueless about his own mother's past. The fact that a handful of these scenes are in English brings another refreshing touch of variety to the film, helping to make it the must-see beautiful cinematic triumph that it is.

Reviewed by gregking4 7 / 10 / 10

a powerful, harrowing and moving tale of redemption and forgiveness

Recent films like The Reader and The Boy In The Striped Pajamas have attempted to put a human face on the vast tragedy of the Holocaust, and have reminded us of the legacy and the consequences of that awful period of 20th century history. Just when we thought that there were no more Holocaust stories left to tell, along comes this powerful and moving French drama. The film uses a little known event from French history as a starting point for a deeply affecting drama about guilt, redemption, family secrets, the comfort of strangers, and hope in a time of war and madness. In 1942, French authorities rounded up thousands of Jewish citizens and confined them inside the Paris Velodrome in appalling conditions for several days. They endured stifling heat, a lack of water and food, and basic sanitary conditions like toilets and showers. They were then shipped off to transit camps, where women and children were forcibly separated from their families. One such family was the Starzynskis. When the police burst into their small apartment, ten-year old Sarah (Melusine Mayance) hid her younger brother inside a wardrobe, locking the door behind her. She kept the key throughout her ordeal, hoping to return home to rescue him. The film alternates between these harrowing scenes and the present day, where Paris based American journalist Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas) is writing an article on this disturbing and shameful incident. But as she probes into the past, Julia discovers a personal connection between the fate of Sarah's family and her own family. She learns that her husband's family purchased the Starzynski's home soon after the family was removed. This makes her more determined to discover Sarah's fate, a decision that puts a strain on her marriage. Her quest takes her from present day Paris to Italy and the United States, and her journey has a big impact on her own personal life. Scott Thomas has previously delivered strong performances in other French dramas (Leaving, I've Loved You So Long, etc), but here she finds one of the more emotionally substantial roles of her career. Her intelligent presence, obsessive nature and air of sadness lift this solid and moving drama. Also impressive is Mayance, who brings a feisty quality, resilience and quiet determination to her role as Sarah as she moves through a variety of emotions - fear, doubt, terror – with great conviction. Niels Arestrup, who was so effectively menacing in A Prophet, brings gruff but unexpectedly tender quality to his performance as a farmer who reluctantly shelters Sarah from the authorities. Sarah's Key is based on the best-selling novel written by Tatiana De Rosnay, in which the ghosts of the Holocaust continue to haunt the survivors, who are often wracked with guilt. Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner handles the material with great sensitivity, but avoids descending into cheap melodrama. The harrowing scenes set inside the Velodrome bristle with a palpable sense of outrage. Paquet-Brenner maintains a steady but assured pace as the film builds towards its final, emotionally devastating scene when Julia meets Sarah's son (played by Aidan Quinn), who discovers the truth of his own history. Technical contributions are all excellent, from Francoise Dupertuis' production design, to Eric Perron's costumes, Max Richter's poignant and unobtrusive score, Pascal Ridao's evocative cinematography, and Herve Schneid's editing which fluidly moves between the different time frames. Sarah's Key is a powerful, harrowing and moving tale that explores one of the darkest and most shameful periods of France's history, but it ultimately proves to be something of an uplifting tale of redemption and forgiveness.

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