Directed by--Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Julia Jarmond--Kristin Scott-Thomas
Sarah (age 10)--Melusine Mayance
William Rainsferd--Aidan Quinn
Let me start this review with a warning.If you are looking for an easy viewing movie for simple entertainment then this is not the one.This is a very serious movie about a little known aspect of the Holocaust and it has a number of disturbing scenes.Although the characters are fictional,the historical event within which the story occurs was not.
This movie has a dual quest.Two time lines and two stories told in parallel, interlaced but related and ultimately blending to form the whole.
Young Sarah,a ten year old Jewish girl,lives in Nazi occupied Paris in 1942 with her parents and younger brother.The French police, willingly cooperating with the Nazis it seems,start a purge and roundup of Jews in Paris.They are removed from their homes and sent to camps.Ultimately they meet the same tragic fate as so many other Jews in World War II.
When the French police arrive at the home of Sarah's family,Sarah,intent on protecting her brother,locks him in a bedroom cupboard and keeps the key hidden.She is sure she will return witin three days to rescue him.Sarah's mother,reeling from the sudden arrival of the police,goes along with Sarah's lie.The French police have also lied,claiming the family will only be temporarily relocated for three days.
The film moves to 2009,where Julia Jarmond,an American born journalist and her French husband,an ambitious businessman, live and work in Paris.Julia is researching the tragic event of 1942 that forcibly removed 70,000 Jews from Paris and sent them to their deaths.She intends to write an article for her publication about the event.
The film shifts from the events of 1942 with Sarah;then back to Julia in 2009.The alternating story lines increasingly relate to each other,creating a complex montage of characters and events that reveal the fierce struggle of the two main characters of this film.Sarah's struggle to save her brother is symbolized by her key.Julia's struggle reveals her unequivocal devotion to the truth.
About half of the film is in French so be prepared for English subtitles.
Kristin Scott Thomas is wonderful as Julia and the young French actress,Melusine Mayance,is absolutely amazing as Sarah.The performance of all the cast members brilliantly contributes to this film.
This is a very complex film,filled with irony and intense emotion.The conclusion of the film is stunning.Bring tissue.
This film is rated PG-13.It could be really disturbing to some children.
I give this film an A.