Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

At The Movies

Sarah’s Key

Sarah’s KeyBased on the novel by Tatiana De Rosnay, Sarah’s Key is a wonderful combination of Hollywood and foreign film that provides edge-of-the-seat action as well as intellectual, introspective drama common to French cinema. A Holocaust film, it reveals the horrors of World War II that are typical to this genre, yet it is different because it deals with an event in history rarely mentioned in most American history classes. The year is 1942, and the place is Paris, when approximately ten thousand Jews were rounded up and shipped off to death camps in what is known as the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup—one of the bleakest moments in French history.

The wonderful and beautiful Kristen Scott Thomas from The English Patient stars as Julia Jarmon, a modern-day American journalist living in Paris with her French husband and daughter. Stumbling upon the events surrounding this tragedy, Julia finds herself writing an investigative piece that spurs a deep-seated curiosity. Before long, her life becomes entwined with that of Sarah Starszynski, a young Jewish girl who was arrested along with her parents during the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup.

Through savvy investigation, Julia learns that Sarah escaped from a concentration camp and eventually made her way to America to live an anonymous life under a different name. She feels a connection to this young girl that is undeniable yet unexplained. When her husband begins renovating his family’s Parisian flat, the drama heightens as Julia learns that the apartment was once owned by the Starsynski family. Horrific secrets that have been buried for years finally come to light, which enables Julia to pick up the trail and follow Sarah’s life to America.

As Julia’s story is told, the viewer flashes back in time and learns about Sarah’s life and the events leading up to the arrest. The movie opens with a beautiful scene of a young Sarah playing with her little brother, Michel, in their bedroom. Suddenly, cold, cruel knocks at the front door usher in a sense of foreboding. They hear hushed, frightened whispers from their mother as the police demand that she pack her bags and leave.

Since their father is not home, Sarah acts as the protective sibling by coaxing her brother into a hidden closet, locking it with a large brass key, and promising to return later. Of course, later never comes, despite her heroic efforts to escape the Roundup and set her brother free. Finally, after some time, Sarah does return, but what she finds tortures her soul forever, ultimately leading to her destruction.

I believe Christians will like this story because of its position on abortion. When Julia discovers she is pregnant, her husband insists that they end the pregnancy. After years of miscarriages and the emotional pain associated with the disappointment of losing one baby after another, he finds that he doesn’t have the strength to be a father again. Julia is devastated at first and makes plans to follow through with the abortion, but Sarah’s story haunts her, making her realize how precious life is.

While Julia’s decision to keep her child is not based on faith in Christ, it does confirm the truth that life begins in the womb. It is wonderful to see secular stories weave Judeo-Christian principles into their scripts without intending to make a moral claim. The subtleness of the message makes a powerful statement on the sanctity of life and serves as a fine example of good story telling and biblical instruction for all of us in the field of Christian entertainment.

A nice romantic subplot brings the story full circle and provides the redemption necessary to prevent the movie from being a very depressing tale. While a bit sappy and contrived, the ending works well—plus Aidan Quinn is the love interest, which is always a bonus! Over all, Sarah’s Key is a very good rendition of a powerful book that cleverly blends French dialogue (and subtitles) with American drama. It is an entertaining and educational story for the whole family. Enjoy and learn about an important but often ignored sliver of history at the same time! May we never forget what horrors the Jewish people endured during such a dark time in our world’s history.