Hotel Rwanda (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hotel Rwanda (2004)



Critic Consensus: A sobering and heartfelt tale about massacre that took place in Rwanda while most of the world looked away.

Movie Info

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.more
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, disturbing images and brief strong language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Terry George, Keir Pearson, Kier Pearson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 12, 2005
Box Office: $23.5M


Don Cheadle
as Paul Rusesabagina
Sophie Okonedo
as Tatiana Rusesabagina
Nick Nolte
as Colonel Oliver
Joaquin Phoenix
as Jack Daglish
Cara Seymour
as Pat Archer
Fana Mokena
as General Augustin Biz...
Jean Reno
as Mr. Tillens
Tony Kgoroge
as Gregoire
Mosa Kaiser
as Paul's Daughter
Mathabo Pieterson
as Paul's Daughter
Ofentse Modiselle
as Roger Rusesabagina
Xolani Mali
as Policeman
Rosie Motene
as Receptionist
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Hotel Rwanda

Critic Reviews for Hotel Rwanda

All Critics (192) | Top Critics (42)

There's a tidiness and sense of convenience in the film's stock characterisations and button-pushing plotting that detracts from its impact. The film doesn't just contrive to contain the slaughter, but also its own anger.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Showing traces of the well-meaning paternalism that dogs many Western films about Africa, Hotel Rwanda doesn't go far enough in indicting Europeans and Americans for protecting their own while failing to intervene in time to stop the mass killings.

Full Review… | September 26, 2005
AV Club
Top Critic

Like "Schindler's List," "Hotel Rwanda" shows how the madness of genocide and war converted one man's context of wealth and success from capitalism to humanitarianism. Don Cheadle honors Paul Rusesabagina by tapping his brave face and internal rage.

Full Review… | September 24, 2010

potentially fantastic material...unfortunately, [Terry] George's attempt is too mired in movie-of-the-week do any justice to its subject matter

Full Review… | August 17, 2010
Cinema Writer

Don Cheadle gives a beautifully restrained tour de force performance as a singular voice of reason at the epicenter of writer/director Terry George's depiction of Rwanda's outbreak of genocide in 1994 when Hutu militias slaughtered one million Tutsis with

Full Review… | April 16, 2009

This is a solid film, but it is the truth that holds the power, not the direction.

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
Eye for Film

Audience Reviews for Hotel Rwanda

The film is powerful and moving, but that's got more to do with knowing the horrible events actually took place -- not because of anything special about the film making (other than possibly Cheadle's understated Paul). Cheadle's acting was exceptional, and everyone else was good with the notable exception of Nolte who played his role as if he were a caricature of a gruff-but-lovable military careerist. It's worth seeing to remind yourself that this genocide really happened and the rest of the world really didn't care that much.

Christian C

Super Reviewer


During the early nineties there was an infinite increase in genocide, very prevalent in Africa. The killing in Rwanda was based on a class system that had been in place for decades, and now that the power structure was switched, the tribal system emerged, lending to a million deaths in one year at the hands of a vast military. This film tells the condensed story of a hotel manager named Paul Rusesabagina, who lived the life of a middle class suburbanite while surrounded by soldiers and misplaced nationalism. Prompted by the assassination of Rwanda's president and the expedition of the UN Peacekeepers, Rusesabagina takes in 1,200 refugees and saves all their lives in the process. Rusesabagina starts out as a tolerant and possibly naive citizen, unbelieving of the errant violence of soldiers, or the collapse of his government. With his vast knowledge and Belgian education he outwits, cons, and pleads with generals and soldiers alike to spare his "guests" lives, all while saying it was in keeping with his occupation at the hotel. Pretending they are part of the luxurious clientele, and using his knowledge of the atrocities around his country, he often keeps his offenders at bay, takes in orphans, and saves his family. This has been compared to "Schindler's List" in terms of a savior taking in people to save them from certain death. That comparison seems apt since Rusesabagina starts the film as an affluent and privileged individual with a skewed, or incorrect, view of his surroundings, much like Schindler starting the film as a Nazi. Rusesabagina immediately softens to the refugees' plights and bribes everyone he can in order to save their lives. This film has also been criticized for not covering the entire genocide and instead focuses on a small contingent of people. Comparing again to "Schindler's List," it's evident that that film did cover more, including camps, the train, and the conditions that Jews lived under, and in this film we very often do not see violence, bloodshed, or hateful intolerance. For what the film covers, I think it appropriately shows the devastation done to its citizens, and though not as effective when it comes to bluntly showing death at every turn, there are bodies in the streets, corpses of children left and piled in unceremonious mounds. The film also appropriately covers the lack of intervention from the UN or the US during this time of tumult, and how horrific that truth was when it dawned on the survivors in the hotel. That especially lent a lot of realism to the story, and downplayed the heroism of outsiders, since they weren't there for the bulk of the travesty anyway. That in itself speaks about the genocide more than showing blood spurts from bullet wounds. Overall this film is still disturbing and moving as it shows the sacrifices and travesty of these horrific crimes against humanity.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Like The Killing Fields, Salvador and Schindler's List before it, Hotel Rwanda catalogues yet another example of the human race's remarkable talent for inhumanity. Don Cheadle gives a career best performance as a hotel manager who uses all his intelligence and guile to help save over 1200 refugees from the genocidal rampage of Hutu militants. The rest of the cast also put in the kind of committed performances actors give when they truly believe that a story must be told and although it is a little manipulative, it's never heavy handed or clumsy. I must admit, I didn't realise that the cultural segregation of the Tutsis and the Hutus was just an arbitrary division created by long gone occupying colonialism and the film gives a welcome lesson in the cause and nature of the conflict. It also serves as yet another reminder that the opulent west is very good at making worthy popular entertainment that documents such atrocities, even shedding a tear when reminded of their existence. But we never seem to do a damn thing when it actually counts.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Hotel Rwanda Quotes

Paul Rusesabagina: There's always room.
– Submitted by Hüseyin T (3 years ago)
Colonel Oliver: They have murdered my men. I lost 10 Belgian soldiers.
– Submitted by Adawg J (3 years ago)
Jack: They could be twins.
– Submitted by Isaac H (4 years ago)

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