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Hotel Rwanda (2004)

tomatometer

90

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 189
Fresh: 171 | Rotten: 18

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

88

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 41
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 5

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

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 238,975

My Rating

Movie Info

Hotel Rwanda tackles one of the most horrifically ugly events in recent history, when the Hutu extremists of Rwanda initiated a terrifying campaign of genocide, massacring hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis (who had been given power by the departed Belgian colonists), while the rest of the world looked on and did nothing. Don Cheadle stars as Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager at the fancy Les Milles Collines hotel in Kigali. Paul is a Hutu, and a very successful businessman who smoothly

PG-13,

Drama

Keir Pearson, Terry George

Apr 12, 2005

$23.5M

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All Critics (191) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (171) | Rotten (18) | DVD (25)

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.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Move past the big picture, of race hatred, arbitrary maps and guilt over what the UN and the West can't or won't do, and find the human story within the inhumanity of war.

January 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The great strength of Hotel Rwanda is that it's not about superhuman heroism but simply about human decency.

January 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The almost forgotten but all too real African genocide documented in Hotel Rwanda hits us as suddenly and as hard as it does Paul Rusesabagina, the accidental hero played so masterfully by Don Cheadle.

January 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has a genuine power: the ability of film to beam light onto dark days of history, making it impossible for us to look away, reminding us of what we should never forget.

January 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What makes the film not just harrowing but transcendent is Cheadle. He does nothing traditionally heroic. He just presents a picture of basic decency, showing how, when combined with courage, decency can result in an awe- inspiring moral steadfastness.

January 7, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop 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.

September 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

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

August 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
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

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

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

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

The film belongs to Don Cheadle as Paul and, not surprisingly, he walks away with it.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

The filmmakers want to respect history and not exploit it as so much slasher movie fodder.

May 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Cheadle is outstanding in his first major lead role, one where he is present during practically every important moment in this story.

November 1, 2006
Christianity Today

Who cares about overdone orchestral blasts or signpost-waving lines of dialogue when such raw, naked, painful humanity is displayed by Don Cheadle in the central role?

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Cheadle has an Oscar nomination for best actor. But this isn't a grandstanding portrayal: it is a performance at the service of the work.

January 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

In 2004, with Darfur burning and Congo smouldering, has anything really changed?

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

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.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

...disappointingly conventional [but] an important film nevertheless...

September 8, 2005 Full Review Source: All Movie Guide
All Movie Guide

The film is an overwhelming, sad, and heartfelt achievement.

June 16, 2005 Full Review Source: FromTheBalcony

The fact-based story it tells of instinctual heroism in the face of unspeakable horror is powerful enough to overcome its flaws.

June 7, 2005 Full Review Source: SPLICEDWire
SPLICEDWire

Incapable of honestly confronting its ugly subject matter.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

As powerful as the movie was, Don Cheadle was better.

May 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Broomfield Enterprise
Broomfield Enterprise

Here, now, is the true face of human barbarity, and the true face of human heroism. Not in the now-distant mythology of World War II…

May 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Director Terry George takes his screenplay, which he co-wrote with Keir Pearson, and turns it into a south African "Schindler's List".

April 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight | Comments (2)
Cinema Sight

One of the most disturbing films in recent memory.

April 12, 2005
Reel.com

Audience Reviews for Hotel Rwanda

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.
May 7, 2013
FrizzDrop

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.
July 5, 2012
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The backstory here is genocide ... one hell of a place to start and an lmmersion into reality usually reserved for documentarys with grainy, out-of-focus footage. But the mainstory here, in glorious cinematic values, is a true action tale about one man's determination only for decency, humanity, when the world around him contradicts. Kudos to writer/director Terry George for revealing a side of humanity nobody likes, yet exists nonetheless, and to Don Cheadle's steady portrayal of an everyman in extraordinary times.
May 11, 2012
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

I have no words. Another movie based on a true story. The story worths the ticket and I never expect the great Cheadle's performance. This is what makes the movie so good. Honestly I didn't liked the directing. So flat, almost like a TV drama. I truely will never understand human race in situations like the one described in Rwanda. That's the paradox. An amazing human story about inhuman acts.
August 9, 2011
sergioogarcia
Sergio Garcia

Super Reviewer

    1. Paul Rusesabagina: There's always room.
    – Submitted by Hüseyin T (15 months ago)
    1. Colonel Oliver: They have murdered my men. I lost 10 Belgian soldiers.
    – Submitted by Adawg J (16 months ago)
    1. Jack: They could be twins.
    – Submitted by Isaac H (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Hotel Ruanda (DE)
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