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Sarah's Key Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Ms. Scott Thomas is as intelligent and attractive as ever, but the synthetic world her character inhabits can't compete with a harrowing past that depicts French complicity in Nazi atrocities.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The Holocaust scenes are wrenching, the past-meets-present dialectics less so.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Scott Bowles

    Sarah's Key is, for the most part, an exercise in reserve. We never see Hitler, never enter battle. Paquet-Brenner (Pretty Things, Walled In), rightly tells his Holocaust story as it now lives: through survivors and descendants.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    The movie gathers momentum with a steady, assured pace, accumulating incidents, characters, secrets and lies until the rush of events is absolutely transfixing. Cinema can sometimes rival the novel in compulsive intensity and Sarah's Key is one such example.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Powerful drama includes horrifying Holocaust violence.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this often-intense drama based on the 2007 novel by Tatiana De Rosnay takes place in both 1942, as a brave 10-year-old girl tries to survive the Holocaust and rescue her younger brother, and 2009, as a journalist in France tries to find out what happened. The movie features some horrifying violence, mostly surrounding the Holocaust sequences that make up about a third of the film. Characters commit suicide, get sick, and die; children are pushed and hurt in the general chaos; and blood is shown. There's some minor sexuality, including a pregnant woman and an image of two teen/pre-teen girls swimming naked. Teens old enough to handle the Holocaust imagery will find some interesting and powerful history lessons here.

  • Families can talk about the violence of the Holocaust. What would make people behave that way? How is that period of history typically portrayed in the media?
  • What keeps drawing filmmakers and audiences to this subject material?
  • Does knowing the truth help or hurt the characters in 2009? Is something painful better hidden or known?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Young Sarah is clever and strong and tries her best to solve problems and overcome challenges in the midst of a scary, intense situation (even though she sometimes fails). As for Julia's story in the present day, it shows that no matter how painful, the truth does indeed set you free.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Sarah could be viewed as a role model in some respects; she's brave and strong and quick thinking, and she's a problem-solver. But after a terrible failure, she withdraws and becomes angry, sullen, and depressed. Julia is also a mixed role model: She's curious and warm-hearted, but her search also borders on selfish obsession.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Most of the movie's violence is concentrated during the Holocaust sequence during the first third. The roundup of innocent French Jews is shown as a disgusting horror show; people commit suicide (blood shown) and pretend to be sick by "coughing up" blood. Characters get sick and die. In the camps, there's screaming, pushing, and shoving, with children getting hurt in the fracas. Guards are shown to have guns.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Two teen/pre-teen girls are seen floating naked in a pond (though it's mostly from far away, and no real details are visible). In the present day, a husband and wife are seen kissing; the wife is pregnant.

  • language false0

    Language: One use of "My God."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Two adults sip champagne in a restaurant. No drunkenness.