The true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.
Release Year: 2004
Rating: 8.2/10 (127,766 voted)
Critic's Score: 79/100
Stars: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix
Ten years ago some of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind took place in the country of Rwanda–and in an era of high-speed communication and round the clock news, the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world. In only three months, one million people were brutally murdered. In the face of these unspeakable actions, inspired by his love for his family, an ordinary man summons extraordinary courage to save the lives of over a thousand helpless refugees, by granting them shelter in the hotel he manages.
Writers: Keir Pearson, Terry George
Mabutho 'Kid' Sithole
(as Kid Sithole)
Antonio David Lyons
A true story of a man who fought impossible odds to save everyone he could and created a place where hope survived.
Release Date: 4 February 2005
Filming Locations: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $100,091
(26 December 2004)
(17 April 2005)
Did You Know?
Nick Nolte's character (Col. Oliver) is modeled in part on Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian commanding officer of the UN Peacekeeping mission in that country who attempted to interfere with the Rwandan Genocide despite his superiors' indifference to the atrocity. Dallaire was also the subject of Sundance audience award documentary
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire, and witnessed such horrible acts in Rwanda that he later suffered severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite these facts, this is the only fictional character (name and facts) depicted in the film.
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers):
The sign on top of the entrance to George Rutaganda's company headquarter reads "Rutagunda", instead of "Rutaganda".
When people ask me, good listeners, why do I hate all the Tutsi, I say, "Read our history." The Tutsi were collaborators for the Belgian colonists, they stole our Hutu land, they whipped us. Now they have come back, these Tutsi rebels. They are cockroaches…
Shaming and compelling
Anything I say in this review is probably redundant, because there
isn't a single negative review in all the comments so far here, and I
agree wholeheartedly with what has been said by other reviewers.
Nevertheless Hotel Rwanda is that rare kind of movie experience that
doesn't easily relinquish its hold on the audience just because the
credits have rolled. Watching with a friend, after ten minutes we had
to pause the film because we decided we would be better served if we
were more informed about what the basic facts of the conflict in Rwanda
were. So to my shame, we had to read on the internet about what really
happened, before we could continue. I say shame because we should have
known, both of us were of an age when it happened to have taken more of
an interest in world politics.
The film is beautifully understated, eschewing sentimentality in favour
of raw emotion and letting the story tell itself. The acting was
flawless – Don Cheadle's breathtaking performance being a particular
standout – and the direction didn't falter, despite all the potential
pitfalls of dramatising a recent and horrific conflict. The scenes
which were hardest to watch in terms of tension and violence were often
suffused with humour and hope.
It's difficult sometimes to separate the significance of the true
story, from the artistry of the product, and often I get impatient with
'worthy' movies scoring big at Oscar time because it seems as though
important stories ought to be rewarded, whether or not they make good
films. However, I can't recall being so profoundly moved by a film
since I saw The Grey Zone, and I hope Hotel Rwanda gets all the
plaudits it deserves.