Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of a man who courageously defied the hatred exploding around him. In 1994, Rwanda erupted with genocidal rage after the country’s Hutu president was assassinated. The Hutus blamed the murder on the hated Tutsi minority and, in short order, took up firearms and machetes against their Tutsi neighbors. In a few months, more than 1 million Tutsi men, women and children were brutally murdered while United Nations peacekeepers (Nick Nolte plays Canada’s official) stood by, powerless to intervene. American and European governments quickly removed their own people, leaving the threatened Tutsis to fend for themselves. But in the midst of the chaos, Paul Rusebagina (Don Cheadle), a Hutu himself and manager of a hotel in the Rwandan capital, provided shelter to Tutsi refugees. In protecting nearly a thousand Tutsis, Paul became an enemy of his own people and risked his life and family.
Hotel Rwanda is only rated PG-13 because it refrains from graphic, excessively gory depictions of brutal murder. The resulting film is accessible to a broader audience, but it still contains disturbing scenes including a road strewn with corpses. There’s also some foul language and alcohol use, but it is not excessive or terribly distracting from the film’s message, one that many people need to hear: Real hatred and brutal injustice continue in our world today because people remain wickedly sinful. But by God’s grace, people like Paul Rusebagina can stand against evil and make a difference, even when it costs them a great deal.