Book to Movie: Sarah's Key

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I actually saw the movie before reading the book, but I liked the movie enough to read it. If you would like a summary, see my review.

There were many aspects of this movie that I loved. As I've mentioned before, I am not a film critic and have never even taken a class about film, so all my opinions are my own and noto supported by any evidence or theory. However, I loved the colors in this film. Despite the bleakness and the sadness of the subject matter, every scene seemed infused with light and beauty to me. Sarah and Julia's stories are filled with inner dialogue and quiet moments, and the power of the scenes went far to fill in those quiet moments.

I was also impressed with the acting. Kristin Scott Thomas definitely played her role with emotion, albeit quiet emotion. I felt drawn to her character and her emotional quest to both have her own child and understand what happened to the children like Sarah who were taken from their homes by the French police. The actresses that played both the young and older Sarah were also powerful, with their wide-eyed, silent grief. I also love that old man that played DuFaure. My husband and I had to laugh because we saw War Horse the next day, and he also plays the elderly French farmer in War Horse. Apparently he is the token character for that type of role.

I also felt that the film did an excellent job of building the tension of what Michel, the little boy behind the door, experienced as his fate. Every moment is filled with foreboding tension as the scenes progress nearer to the revelation of his fate, and I actually was having a sympathetic (in the physiological sense) response -- gripping the chair, heart pounding, breaking out in a sweat. I was very emotionally affected by what happened.

I also liked the little addition of how Sarah and her husband met. I don't recall that being in the book, but I enjoyed the flashback in the movie.

My one issue with the film was more a factor of the medium of movies in general than the way Sarah's Key was made. Because the progression of the plot is often internal, at times the moments of silence left me wishing I could be inside the characters' minds. I looked forward to reading the book for that reason, although it didn't always give me quite as much insight as I would have liked (I like books that give you the nitty-gritty on everything. I'm not really a subtle person).

Overall, I thought this movie was very well-done. It is streaming on Netflix right now, so if you have an account, go watch it. :)

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