‘Hotel Rawanda’ brings the true story of the genocide of the Tutsi minority to life in a powerful way


Julia Satterthwaite

By Kathryn Chatman

It is not often that one views film as captivating as “Hotel Rwanda.” This movie is a historical drama telling the true story of a genocide that claimed the lives of almost a million people. Directed by Terry George, and starring Don Cheadle, “Hotel Rwanda” shows the bravery and courage it took of one man to keep over 1,200 people alive.

“Hotel Rwanda” takes place in Kigali, Rwanda, during a time where Hutu militia tried to kill off the Tutsi minority. Paul Rusesabagina (Cheadle), a five-star-hotel manager, finds himself protecting his family and over 1,200 refugees from being brutally murdered by Hutu soldiers. Bribing the militia with money and alchohol, Paul manages to keep the soldiers at bay, and the refugees alive. Eventually supplies runs out, and Paul has to think of other means to keep them safe. This involves trying to get the attention of the rest of the world so they will intervene in the Tutsi genocide.

One of the many highlights in “Hotel Rwanda” is Don Cheadle’s acting. He portrays Paul’s emotions so vividly that the audience feels like they, too, are going through his ordeal. In a scene where Paul cries, the viewers can feel the agony Paul was enduring.  Another highlight is the way this film builds suspense. For example, in a scene where Paul rushes around the hotel searching for his wife, Tatiana, the music and camerawork push the audience to the edge of their seats, wondering if and where he will find her.

“Hotel Rwanda” has a few drawbacks. Thick accents make it hard to understand what the characters are saying. This can cause some confusion, especially about the names of the characters. Some may be uncomfortable with the vulgar language this drama contains. That, coupled with the amount of gore, makes it feel as if “Hotel Rwanda” should’ve earned an R rating, instead of PG-13. At one point, when Paul goes on a “roadtrip,” the carnage is so intense that people may have to look away from the screen.

Overall, “Hotel Rwanda” is an exceptional film. It is recommended to anyone who wants to watch an intriguing movie bound to have a long-lasting effect on them. However, this film is not suggested to the faint of heart. “Hotel Rwanda” is very realistic, and opens the audiences eyes to the horrors that took place during the Rwandan Genocide.

Rating: 4.5/5