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Hotel Rwanda -- can I show it to an 11 year old?


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It is an *excellent* movie, but I would not show it to an 11 year-old. I have heard it was originally given an R rating and not for graphic violence, but just for the intensity and horror of genocide. It affected me for days after seeing it.

 

 

ETA: I always like Common Sense Media's reviews:

 

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/hotel-rwanda

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I would not show it to an eleven year old. There is a scene where the main character is driving down a road with bumps in it. It takes him a while to figure out the "bumps" are human bodies. Then he really looks around and sees hundreds of dead bodies.

 

IMO, "Sometimes in April" is a better movie, but I am still not sure I would show it to an eleven year old.

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I would preview it first. Ds and I watched it when he was 11. I previewed it before hand and took notes of scenes I wanted to stop and discuss. We did that, stopped and discussed it. I added my own experience, which was remembering only a few blurbs in the paper about the situation.

 

It's a powerful movie, but I think only a parent can determine if it's right for their 11 year old.

 

I think if you google around you might find some study guides on the movie. It might help with talking points.

 

ETA: Looks like I might be in a minority, but ds handled it well. He has a certain maturity about situations like that. We've discussed the movie several times since watching.

Edited by elegantlion
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I would not show it to an eleven year old. There is a scene where the main character is driving down a road with bumps in it. It takes him a while to figure out the "bumps" are human bodies. Then he really looks around and sees hundreds of dead bodies.

 

IMO, "Sometimes in April" is a better movie, but I am still not sure I would show it to an eleven year old.

 

:iagree: I would wait till they are older as in older teens perhaps. It is a great movie.

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It's a very powerful movie and well worth watching, but I've got agree with the majority here. It's not a film I would show to an 11 year old, no matter how mature he is. I also think that intellectually knowing that genocide occurs doesn't at all make one ready to watch a film on it. Seeing some of those images on film makes everything much more real. Once an image is seen, it cannot be unseen, and I would not want to put those images into my son's mind at such a young age. It was hard enough to see it at my age.

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I suspect my youngest was 11 - possibly 12 - when he saw it. We had already listened to Paul Rusesabagina (live, in person) speak at our school, so the situation had already been set up. The movie doesn't quite tell the whole story and my guy was ready for it. He was also already quite mature and we live on a farm so general "gore" doesn't get to him. Obviously people "gore" is different, but I have no regrets with taking him to listen to the speaker nor watching the movie at his age. He seemed to have a good understanding of some of the evil that can happen on this planet.

 

Chances are though, it meant a little more to his older brothers (13 and 15 or possibly 14 and 16 at the time) simply because their brain was more mature and could truly understand it better.

 

If the 11yo is your youngest, then in our family, the youngest gets exposed to things a little earlier than the oldest... but for this and our family, the timing came about due to the opportunity to hear Paul Rusesabagina live.

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I haven't seen this yet. If you have seen it, can you give me a heads up on things that might be problematic. I realize that this is a matter of personal judgement, but the Hive has such good opinions -- I'd love to hear them.

 

Is there a reason you cannot preview it first and decide for yourself?

 

I know I couldn't ever show it to my 11 year old, he's only recently begun easing into the world of PG-13, but kids are very different at that age.

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I showed it to my children last year before we went to Africa. Partly I wanted them to see that Africa has different rules and that they needed to be on their guard at all times. Partly I wanted them to understand that my cousins I was going to visit in Tanzania had lived through the Rwanda massacre and I wanted them to understand my cousins.

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I suspect my youngest was 11 - possibly 12 - when he saw it. We had already listened to Paul Rusesabagina (live, in person) speak at our school, so the situation had already been set up. The movie doesn't quite tell the whole story and my guy was ready for it. He was also already quite mature and we live on a farm so general "gore" doesn't get to him. Obviously people "gore" is different, but I have no regrets with taking him to listen to the speaker nor watching the movie at his age. He seemed to have a good understanding of some of the evil that can happen on this planet.

 

Chances are though, it meant a little more to his older brothers (13 and 15 or possibly 14 and 16 at the time) simply because their brain was more mature and could truly understand it better.

 

If the 11yo is your youngest, then in our family, the youngest gets exposed to things a little earlier than the oldest... but for this and our family, the timing came about due to the opportunity to hear Paul Rusesabagina live.

 

The bolded is one of the reasons I chose to show the movie. I was in high school before I realized the Vietnam war had taken place in my lifetime. I felt embarrassed because of my ignorance. The Rwandan genocide happening in my adulthood and still not really knowing all about it, also kind of irritated me.

 

We also lived in an area where we would hear racist statements to our faces because we were white, and people assumed we held similar views because of our color. Ds and I had already discussed racism in depth. We had some good discussions after the movie about race/ethnic issues not just being about the difference in skin color.

 

It's been a few years since we watched it. I asked ds about it at dinner. He remembers watching, but has not been scarred. He's not prone to nightmares or overly sensitive. So it was appropriate for our family at the time.

 

I did veto Blood Diamond for the time being. ;)

 

ETA: he was given the option at the beginning and when we'd stop to discuss to quit watching.

Edited by elegantlion
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Hotel Rwanda is a great film, but there were many violent scenes in the movie so I would be cautious about showing it to a young teen. You might want to preview it first. For me, the toughest scene was Don Cheadle talking on the phone to the hotel's management in Belgium. In summary, the he said: "I'm calling to tell you we are all going to die. It was really nice knowing you." That moment seemed to perfectly capture the conflict of the movie: a savage massacre occurred while the whole world watched and did nothing.

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I would not show it to an eleven year old. There is a scene where the main character is driving down a road with bumps in it. It takes him a while to figure out the "bumps" are human bodies. Then he really looks around and sees hundreds of dead bodies.

 

IMO, "Sometimes in April" is a better movie, but I am still not sure I would show it to an eleven year old.

 

Oh, that is a good illustration. I might watch it myself on a portable dvd player so that kids could not hear or see it. Thank you for describing that one scene -- it would be too much for my dc at this age. Generally, I am OK with letting dc see and try to understand what is happening in the real world & I allow a certain amount of violence in films. But the scene you described is disturbing just in the description.

 

On the other hand, I have zero tolerance for "fun" violence -- though I like James Bond et al, I have never let dc see that kind of film.

 

Sometimes in April sounds fascinating too -- I love getting recommendations of films that I have completely missed. I will be watching it sonn.

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The bolded is one of the reasons I chose to show the movie. I was in high school before I realized the Vietnam war had taken place in my lifetime. I felt embarrassed because of my ignorance. The Rwandan genocide happening in my adulthood and still not really knowing all about it, also kind of irritated me.

 

We also lived in an area where we would hear racist statements to our faces because we were white, and people assumed we held similar views because of our color. Ds and I had already discussed racism in depth. We had some good discussions after the movie about race relations not just being about the difference in skin color.

 

It's been a few years since we watched it. I asked ds about it at dinner. He remembers watching, but has not been scarred. He's not prone to nightmares or overly sensitive. So it was appropriate for our family at the time.

 

I did veto Blood Diamond for the time being. ;)

 

I feel the same way as you do about letting kids know what is going on in the world and will show them the film sooner rather than later, perhaps in a year or so.

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What many do not know was that this was not the first time that there were massacres of Hutu or Tutsi in Rwanda. 1963, 1972 and 1988 also saw massacres and exiles of tens of thousands.

 

Tragically 1994 was not new, the scale was different but the behavior only reminiscent of earlier massacre.

Edited by pqr
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What many do not know was that this was not the first time that there were massacres of Hutu or Tutsi in Rwanda. 1963, 1972 and 1988 also saw massacres and exiles of tens of thousands.

 

Tragically 1994 was not new, the scale was different by the behavior only reminiscent of earlier massacre.

 

Thank you for reminding us -- it makes it all more tragic somehow.

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has he read about the genocide? First read some books and then decide. Rusesabagina's autobiography would be great and also the reading level in Left to Tell by Immaculee Illibagiza is not too difficult.

 

This might sound weird, but I don't think one really deserves to watch movies like this without a certain amount of context. Deserves might not be the right word, but in my view learning about modern-day genocide should be more than watching a movie. For example, in Hotel Rwanda there are one or two lines of dialogue that give some background about how the colonialists directly caused the tensions that contributed to the genocide, but it's not sufficient to understand the cultural dynamics at play.

 

My fear would be (aside from graphic violent images that are important but maybe not necessarily age-appropriate) that an eleven year old would come away from that movie with a general sense that African people kill each other (and not much else).

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I think that film is amazing.

 

My teens have seen it, but my very intellectually mature 12 year old is not ready for it. DC has heard some of the history. We read news reports as part of our studies. For now, that is enough.

 

Rawanda is a very difficult and bloody story to process. Visuals are not necessary.

 

My dad was born in 1939. He says he swears he remembers the scary news reels at the theater, and the booming voices on the radio during WWII. He's always been a bit skittery; he worries about everything. I am not sure all his exposure to certain news served him well.

 

I try to keep in mind that my hs'd kids can learn anything, at any time.

Edited by LibraryLover
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This might sound weird, but I don't think one really deserves to watch movies like this without a certain amount of context. Deserves might not be the right word, but in my view learning about modern-day genocide should be more than watching a movie. For example, in Hotel Rwanda there are one or two lines of dialogue that give some background about how the colonialists directly caused the tensions that contributed to the genocide, but it's not sufficient to understand the cultural dynamics at play.

 

My fear would be (aside from graphic violent images that are important but maybe not necessarily age-appropriate) that an eleven year old would come away from that movie with a general sense that African people kill each other (and not much else).

 

:iagree:

 

And this would be why we put things into context for all 3 of ours. We talked about what happened, we listened to Paul speak, then we watched the movie (remembering that the movie actually sanitized parts deemed to horrible to show based upon his speech).

 

I don't know if there's any connection or not, but my youngest wants to work in Africa - not Rwanda, but the Republic of the Congo - another place with a difficult past. We recently watched, "Congo, White King, Red Rubber, Black Death" for that one. (It's a documentary rather than a full feature movie.) Of course, this son is also 15 now - not 11. He also has no plans or delusions about "fixing" Africa. He wants to study Ethnobotany there (how people use plants). He admires the people and how they've passed down knowledge about plants.

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I saw the film last night -- an amazing story, especially how Paul changed. And a much less tragic ending (for Paul's family, I mean) than I had expected.

 

The graphic violence was not as much as I had expected, something I could show to ds, but will not at this point -- see brett ashley's & creekland's posts below.

 

has he read about the genocide? First read some books and then decide. Rusesabagina's autobiography would be great and also the reading level in Left to Tell by Immaculee Illibagiza is not too difficult.

 

Yes, actually he has, a bit. In school, he is in a global care club and very interested. One of ds's big passions for the last few years has been Tibet. We have read about the current situation and seen documentaries. Ds reacted in a way that may be proud -- compassion and indignation.

 

I will check out the books you mentioned.

 

This might sound weird, but I don't think one really deserves to watch movies like this without a certain amount of context. Deserves might not be the right word, but in my view learning about modern-day genocide should be more than watching a movie. For example, in Hotel Rwanda there are one or two lines of dialogue that give some background about how the colonialists directly caused the tensions that contributed to the genocide, but it's not sufficient to understand the cultural dynamics at play.

 

Actually "deserves" is exactly the right word IMO. My biggest fear is that dc will not see this kind of violence as real and terrifying, that they will somehow minimalize it -- only a film, they think. You actually expressed what I think better than I could have.

 

My fear would be (aside from graphic violent images that are important but maybe not necessarily age-appropriate) that an eleven year old would come away from that movie with a general sense that African people kill each other (and not much else).

 

I love Africa and I think I've conveyed it to dc, so that would not be a big worry here. But I see what you mean.

 

 

:iagree:

 

And this would be why we put things into context for all 3 of ours. We talked about what happened, we listened to Paul speak, then we watched the movie (remembering that the movie actually sanitized parts deemed to horrible to show based upon his speech).

 

That is a wonderful idea -- to stop and talk. Yes, I did notice that many of the horrors I have read about were not shown. I think it is important for people to know the rest of the story -- but kiddos are absolutely too young to hear about some of the violence, especially to women.

 

I don't know if there's any connection or not, but my youngest wants to work in Africa - not Rwanda, but the Republic of the Congo - another place with a difficult past. We recently watched, "Congo, White King, Red Rubber, Black Death" for that one. (It's a documentary rather than a full feature movie.) Of course, this son is also 15 now - not 11. He also has no plans or delusions about "fixing" Africa. He wants to study Ethnobotany there (how people use plants). He admires the people and how they've passed down knowledge about plants.

 

I have known both anthropologists and botanists who have worked in ethnobotany -- what a fascinating field. Good for your son!

 

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I tend to be a little more liberal with what I let my kids watch- they're not overly sensitive- and I really don't believe in sheltering kids from the real world all that much. All that being said, I personally can't imagine showing it to a young tween-aged child.

 

All I know is that when I, a grown adult who isn't prone to being overly emotional, saw the movie that it profoundly disturbed me and gave me nightmares for weeks (as well it should, you know?) The utter horror of knowing that it was REAL, not just Hollywood fiction, and feeling so helpless to do anything about it really weighed heavily on my mind.

 

It's an excellent film, but I just think that I would tread lightly when it comes to watching it with a child. It's up there with Schindler's List, IMO.

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