|From SF Chronicle review|
It was a very hard movie to watch, because it felt so incredibly authentic. Told through the eyes of Sarah, a ten-year-old girl who tried to save her little brother by locking him in a closet and taking the key with her when they are forced to leave, she tries everything she can think of to try to get back to her brother. Kristin Scott Thomas plays an American journalist in present-day Paris who discovers the truth and decides to find out what happened to Sarah. Mick LaSalle wrote, in his review for the SF Chronicle:
"Sarah's Key" is a mature refutation of the romantic myth of wartime France as a land of partisans and Resistance fighters, and it's especially welcome to find this in a French film. The Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, in which Jews were placed in a sports stadium under unsanitary conditions, then separated from their families and sent to death camps, is a national disgrace, an atrocity committed by France against French citizens. The movie's stern message is all the more pointed in that the investigation is done by an American, not a French, journalist.This was decidedly not a feel-good film, but one that made me think and ponder the inhumanity, as well as the many acts of kindness, that occurred during the Holocaust. Scott Thomas and others were simply superb in their portrayals. I left the theater glad to have seen the movie and interested in reading the book. Many years ago I read numerous publications about the Holocaust in order to try to understand it, but as I have learned in my life, there is simply no way to comprehend why we humans do what we do to each other. I am reminded that these kinds of atrocities are occurring all over the world as I write this, because we apparently didn't learn anything from that horrible time. I shed many tears during and after the movie.
My Sister's Keeper. This novel depicts some of the ethical questions that are raised by our technological ability to create "designer genes" for medical issues. Anna is conceived by her parents to be a "savior sibling" so that her umbilical cells can be used to help cure her older sister's leukemia. As it turns out, Anna decides at the age of 13 that she no longer wants to continue to give her sister bone marrow transplants and even a kidney. The book explores many of these issues and has a rather surprising ending. Picoult, in an interview from the back of the book, tells this story:
My Sister's Keeper is the first book one of my own kids has read. Kyle, who's twelve, picked it up and immediately got engrossed in it. The day he finished the book, I found him weeping on the couch. He pushed me away and went up to his room and told me that he really didn't want to see me or talk to me for a while — he was that upset. Eventually, when we did sit down to discuss it, he kept asking, "Why? Why did it have to end like that?" The answer I gave him (and you) is this: because this isn't an easy book, and you know from the first page that there are no easy answers. Medically, this ending was a realistic scenario for the family. And thematically, it was the only way to hammer home to all the characters what's truly important in life. ... I even gave a 23rd-hour call to an oncology nurse to ask if there was some other way to end the book. But finally, I came to see that if I wanted to be true to the story, this was the right conclusion.Well, I wept my eyes out at the ending, too, and if you want to know why, you'll have to read the book yourself. So now I've shed my tears and am happily writing this post, hoping that I'll find something inspiring and uplifting to move me from my tears to a sense of gratitude for a wonderful holiday weekend, even if a bit on the wet side.