I DID NOT REALIZE I HAD been observing the interactions in the checkout line, between the shopper and checker. Some shoppers I could tell were regulars based on the conversations I was able to hear. I had been shopping at this particular grocery store for several years, though at different times throughout the week. However, over this time frame I formed impressions of each checker. Some were friendly, some were not, several were rigid with the store’s rules while others worked around the system, so the consumer would not get delayed. One thing I had noticed was the way the checkers’ mood would change when a shopper came through the line while talking on their mobile phone. Let me just say it appeared the checkers were not as helpful as they could be. I decided I would put a big smile on my face when it was my turn to pay for my groceries. It was interesting to see how the checker’s mood quickly changed when they saw me smiling at them. As weeks went by I noticed past inconveniences that annoyed me, such as their rewards program not working with my purchase or an error in pricing, were being handled by the checkers instead of them asking for a price check or an override. I found this quite interesting since in the past these checkers would have gotten help; but now, they were essentially taking my word on the prices and rewards. MAYBE WHAT I HAVE BEEN TALKING about is something you have always done, smiling and being friendly. For me, I used to be selective in who I would show kindness. What can I say? Based on my past experiences I grew up being distrustful of people; it certainly has taken me a long time to let my guard down. It is true what they say about kindness; it is easier to show it instead of anger. What amazes me about acts of kindness is how they can last a lifetime. Recently I attended a school reunion and a woman came up to me who I did not recognize. She knew me right away. During our conversation she thanked me for helping her in school. I did not know what she was talking about but luckily, she mentioned how in study hall I used to help her with her math studies and she was able to pass the class. We are talking years ago and yet, she is still carrying this memory around with her. I was so surprised to hear it. I guess one never knows how an act of kindness can have a profound effect on someone. This drama can show you several examples. IF WILLIAN MWIZERWA, PLAYED BY Benjamin A. Onyango (Tears of the Sun, God’s Not Dead), wanted to keep his family alive as civil war was breaking out in his country, he would need an act of kindness. There was not much opportunity for it with violence spreading rapidly. With Scott William Winters (Good Will Hunting, The People vs. Larry Flynt) as Randy Hartley, Emily Hahn (Camp Cool Kids) as Andrea Hartley, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas (The Song, Rose from the Dead) as Darla Hartley and Michael W. Smith (90 Minutes in Heaven, Saving Faith) as Pastor Henry; the script which was based on a true story, did not do the story justice in my opinion. The story is incredible; I was riveted to the movie screen in the beginning but the sappy musical score, the poor directing and acting, along with the preachiness bored me. Though, I did want to know the outcomes. Having some knowledge of the Rwandan Civil War, this picture could have been an emotional roller coaster ride. The kindest thing I can say about this film is William’s story would be better served in book form.
1 ¾ stars
With many stories that have scenarios filled with horror and terror, one can find individuals that shine with an amazing heartbeat. For me, it was a music teacher who became my savior; when the bullying in school was overwhelming me. She would stand outside her classroom, watching for me as I walked down the hallway towards class, making sure I was safe. There are people in the world who can make all the difference to a victim. One of these remarkable individuals was Paul Rusesabagina. Based on a true story, Paul was the house manager of a luxury hotel in Rwanda, back in the 1990’s. Played by Don Cheadle (Brooklyn’s Finest, Reign Over Me), Paul put his life in jeopardy by housing Tutsi refugees in the hotel; away from the Hutu militia, who were determined to slaughter any and all Tutsi civilians. This was a hard movie to watch due to the brutal and bloody violence on display; it was pure genocide. Besides telling myself this was only a movie, the flawless acting from Don Cheadle kept me riveted to my seat. There was a scene with Paul’s wife Tatiana, played by Sophie Okonedo (The Secret Life of Bees, Martian Child) that brought tears to my eyes. Another great performance was given by Nick Nolte (Warrior, The Thin Red Line) as Colonel Oliver. There are so many times where we come across the tagline: It only takes one person to make a difference. In regards to Paul Rusesabagina, he made 1000 differences. It was an incredible experience watching this moving movie about a special soul, surviving in the middle of man’s ugliness.
3 2/3 stars — DVD