Sarah's Key: Milking the Shoah for Easy Emotion
Exposing a little-known piece of Holocaust historythe Vel dHiv roundup, in which French police arrested thousands of Jews in Paris in July 1942Sarahs Key dutifully follows the template of scores of movies about the Shoah: wringing from atrocity the most unseemly sentimentality. The film toggles between the pastas 10-year-old Sarah Starzynski (Mélusine Mayance) and her parents are taken from their Marais home and penned up in the Vélodrome dHiver, a cycling arena in the 15th Arrondissement, before being sent to a nearby internment campand the present, focusing on Julia (Kristin Scott Thomas), an American journalist in Paris whos writing an article about the all-but-buried episode. In the course of her research, Julia discovers some uncomfortable truths about her French in-laws connection with the Starzynski family; wading through the mawkish muck, particularly during plot threads involving her miraculous middle-age pregnancy and tracking down Sarahs adult son, the bilingual and normally unimpeachable Scott Thomas sounds as if she has learned a Yank accent via Rosetta Stone. Based on Tatiana de Rosnays novel and co-written by director Gilles Paquet-Brenner and Serge Joncour, Sarahs Key is filled with the usual meaningless bromides, concluding with Scott Thomass voiceover declaration: When a story is told, it is not forgotten. This film vanishes from memory immediately.
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