Sarah's Key Novel vs Film

1170 words 5 pages
FILM NOTE -- Sarah's Key, directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Melusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Frederic Pierrot

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Sarah's Key contains some of the most powerful, heart-wrenching scenes ever filmed -- and this is not sensationalism, but truth. This film is important for making everyone aware of a particularly horrific episode in France during World War II and -- if you didn’t know -- what human beings are capable of, for ill as well as for good. Based on the novel by Tatiana de Rosnay, Elle s’appelait Sarah, “her name was Sarah,” this is an unsparing account of the Vel’ d’Hiv' Roundup in which tens of thousands of Jews were literally pulled from
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Meanwhile Julia and her French husband are about to move in to an apartment that had been in her husband’s family for 50 years -- until Julia, through her research, comes upon the nauseating fact that her in-laws apartment, that she's about to move in to, had become vacant 50 years ago because the Starzynskis had been ripped out of it. Confronted by Julia, her husband’s father recounts what happened when he was a boy during the war and Sarah returned to the apartment with the key to free her brother. His memories provide a breakthrough in Julia’s search for Sarah: as she uncovers the full complexity and tragedy of Sarah’s existence, Julia frees herself from a careless, overbearing husband who wants her to abort her unexpected late-life pregnancy but -- having learned of the deaths of so many children, she cannot go through with the abortion. Eventually, Julia shares her knowledge of Sarah's background and fate with Sarah’s now adult son who gains a deeper understanding of his mother and himself. The story about the present -- Julia, her pregnancy, her distracted, ambitious, cell-phone addicted husband, and that of Sarah’s son -- is superficial compared with the story of the past. We see Julia in the U.S. with her little girl -- but what about her twelve-year old daughter left in France? And the French father who, even if he opposed the birth, might