I think the main reason why Hotel Rwanda received such rave reviews is that it's hard to give a bad review to a movie that deals with real-life genocide that happened only 10 years ago. I mean, how insensitive can you be?
Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot from the movie. I just disliked the stinky acting and heavy-handed writing. Aside from Don Cheadle's decent performance as Paul Rusesabagina, everyone else either overacted, didn't know how to act, or were drunk (I'm looking at you, Nick Nolte). Cheadle pulled off a conflicted sadness convincingly without having to sob in EVERY SINGLE SCENE, unlike his wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo). Don't even get me started on Nolte's slurring portrayal of a Canadian blue-helmet with a Scotch habit. Keith Richards would've sounded more coherent.
I can't say much about the plot's accuracy because I'm a stupid American, ignorant of genocide across the globe, but several plot devices were about as subtle as a hammer to the nose. A crate of machetes breaks open, revealing the evil tools of genocide to a still-disbelieving Paul and foreshadowing for us lazy movie consumers. Later, an American journalist asks about the difference between Hutus and Tutsis, thus conveniently explaining the arbitrary ethnic conflict for the audience. In real life, don't you think a journalist would've researched something that basic before stepping into a potential war zone? No, I guess real seasoned pros do all the leg work at the bar in the hotel lobby just before going out to document a genocide.
Some characters, like the journalists and the one Red Cross worker in Rwanda, were so underdeveloped that they might as well have been stick figures on a blue screen. I wondered whether there was an extra half-hour of footage dealing with Paul and the Red Cross worker's steamy affair-turned-friendship — how else can we justify their inexplicable relationship?
Maybe it's nit-picking, but the special effects were lousy, too. Lose the digital smoke and explosions, please. And the machetes weren't even sharpened! Even I could tell.
Aside from those minor gripes, I think Hotel Rwanda is a great, serious movie that every American should see so that we can learn from history yadda yadda yadda.....