Last night, with an evening and apartment to myself... I decided to have a solo movie night. I picked up some Dutch Letters (yumm!) and rented the dvd Sarah's Key. I've been meaning to read the book by Tatiana de Rosnay for some time---I've been eying it on the bookshelf every time I've visited Target for over a year. And while I usually prefer to read a book first, then see the movie... I made an exception for this cozy night in. I put on the coffee, popped in the dvd, and settled down on the couch.
Sarah's Key is a beautiful, sweeping story that spans about 70 years. It's the story of two females. First, a little Jewish girl named Sarah Starzynski. In 1942, police invade her family's Parisian apartment. She locks her little brother in a hidden closet, making him promise to stay there until she returns for him. She and her parents are arrested and, along with thousands of other French Jewish families, are taken to the Velodrome d'Hiver and then the transit camp Beaune-la-Roland. Eventually separated from her parents, Sarah sets out on a mission to escape the transit camp and return to Paris to release her brother from the secret cupboard.
In the present day, journalist Julia and her husband inherit the Parisian apartment that once belonged to the Starzynski family. When she discovers that the apartment came into her husband's family around the time of the Jewish arrests and roundup, Julia delves into history to find the truth. With troubles brewing in her marriage and a baby on the way, Julia finds herself unraveling the story of Sarah and prying into the family history of the Starzynskis and Dufaures. As she solves the decades old mystery of the little girl, Julie tracks down relatives and descendants... journeying from Paris to New York to Florence to do so.
I don't want to give too much away because I want you to experience the unraveling of the mystery as well! I love the back-and-forth glimpses from modern day back to the forties. The first half of the movie is absolutely heartbreaking. To see families torn apart, the living conditions they experienced, the heartache, the illness. But there's love and hope and kindness in unexpected places and faces. It's a truly epic story, beautifully filmed and set against gorgeous music. And I loooove the ending. It definitely leaves me wanting more.
I loved it! It's sad, haunting, and heart-wrenching, but lovely, emotional, and heart-warming, too. It's definitely a movie that will stick with me for some time. It makes me want to delve into some historical research of that time period as well. And I definitely plan on downloading the book to my Kindle shortly. (If the movie's this good... I'm sure the book is even better! Aren't the novels always better?)
Let me know if you've read the book or seen the movie! How'd you like it?