A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Brutal rebels are relentless in their pursuit of genocide; UN soldiers are ordered not to fight back; white Europeans are evacuated, while black Rwandans are left to be killed; the film indicts many official and personal decisions. Racism is an issue; one white, British character admits to her own racist beliefs.
Violence & Scariness
Brutal, frequent murders occur by shooting and -- mostly -- by machete (though most of the hacking occurs just out of frame, it's clear what's going on, and the blades are bloody); UN soldiers don't fight back against Tutsi militia members, who maraud with weapons, yelling and terrifying the Hutus; bodies shown frequently are bloody, decaying (flies buzz), and upsetting (several children's bodies appear explicitly); suggestion that nuns have been raped (Father Christopher covers their bodies in a particular way).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very mild flirting between Joe and Marie.
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Several "f--k"s, plus other profanity, including "hell," "s--t," and "s--te."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarette smoking and beer drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the violent images in this film about genocide in Rwanda are hard to look at, especially scenes of children's bloody bodies. While the killings depicted in the movie are, famously, conducted primarily by machete, most of these attacks actually occur just outside the frame, though the killers' intent and effects are clear (lots of bloody aftermath). Militia men appear in various states of hysteria, aggression, and drunkenness. In one very sad scene, a father asks the departing UN captain to shoot the refugees left behind so that they won't have to suffer death by machete. Some language, drinking, and smoking, and one character admits her own racism. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Beyond the Gates is peppered with devastating moments. Christopher's discovery of slaughtered French nuns, Joe's witnessing of killings by people he once considered "friends," Marie's father's request that the UN soldiers shoot the black Rwandans at the school rather than leave them to be murdered by machetes. Still, one of the movie's most provocative scenes involves BBC reporter Rachel (Nicola Walker), who articulates -- and suffers from -- her own racism. Remembering her empathy for victims of the Bosnian genocide the year before, she confesses, "Over here, they're just dead Africans." She pauses, then adds, "What a thing to say. We're all just selfish pieces of work in the end."
Beyond the Gates doesn't consider intersections between the Hutus' monstrous violence and resentment of European colonialism, imperialism, or capitalism. But it does suggest that Joe's ignorance and sense of privilege -- however honorable his intentions -- make a dangerous combination.
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Our Editors Recommend
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