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The Rum Diary

  R HD Closed Captioning

Bruce Robinson

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Plot Summary

A failed writer ends up working for a cheap newspaper in Puerto Rico where he falls into booze, a shady land development scheme, and in love with a beautiful but engaged girl.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 160
  • Fresh: 80
  • Rotten: 80
  • Average Rating: 5.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: There was a reason "The Rum Diary" didn't find a publisher until a late-in-life Thompson resurgence, and it's clearer still in this adaptation - there's no real drama here. – Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger, Oct 28, 2011

Rotten: Writer/director Robinson is anything but disciplined... and he's more inclined to just turn the camera on and let Depp do his thing. Which Depp does very well, but as talented and watchable as he is, even he can't completely save the picture. – Peter Howell, Toronto Star, Oct 31, 2011

Fresh: The supporting cast of journalistic riffraff is uniformly excellent. – Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail, Oct 28, 2011

Fresh: It's been so fabulously written, wonderfully acted; Depp is no stranger to representing the essence of Thompson and he's brilliant. – Margaret Pomeranz, At the Movies (Australia), Mar 20, 2012

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


"The Rum Diary" is definitely not your typical Johnny Depp film. It's kinda like the Puerto Rican version of "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas" if it took place during the Eisenhower administration and had a much darker undertone. Director Terry Gilliam certainly captures the bizarre, yet philosophical world of Hunter S. Thompson right down to a tee, and Depp gives one of the committed, energetic performances of his career as the movie's protagonist Paul Kemp, an itinerant journalist who travels to Puerto Rico to work as a writer for the San Juan Star. While there, he begins the habit of drinking rum and becomes obsessed with a gorgeous young woman named Chenault (Amber Heard), who just so happens to be engaged to a corrupt businessman named Hal Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) who's determined to convert the island into a capitalist paradise in service of the wealthy. But when Kemp is recruited by Sanderson to write favorably about his latest scheme, the journalist must decide whether to use his words for the businessman's benefit, or use them to expose the man for the villain he truly is. While the story is indeed appealing, it can get very choppy and muddled at times. Plus, the film ultimately falls victim to an overly long run time and terrible pacing. But I can forgive those slight issues thanks to the movie's beautiful, colorful backdrops of Puerto Rico, its intriguingly strange characters, and the piercing black humor they deliver with hilarious results. Still, I do believe that "The Rum Diary" could've risen above its somewhat mediocre storytelling approach to become a truly memorable picture all its own, but I digress. Overall, I'd say it's worth renting, especially if you're a fan of Johnny's films, but like I said in the title: it's not for everyone. At the very least, give it a shot and see what you think.

True Johnny Depp

I loved it from start to finish. It's artistic and in the fashion of Hunter S. Thompson. If you only like Johnny Depp for roles such as Pirates of the Caribbean, this may not be your cup of tea. But if you like a witty, intelligent, subtle humor, and an artistic film…look no further.


anyone who doesnt like this movie or doesnt think johnny depp was "up to par" doesn't know what the story is about. Nor have they read the book, or know about JD's relationship with HST. Without Depp, HST would have never published Rum Diary and Depp and HST made a pact that the novel would be made into a movie. After Hunter passed, Johnny Depp made this a passion project in honor of his friend. And this isnt supposed to be the craziness of Fear and Loathing. The story is about HST finding his voice as a writer (the voice that eventually led to F and L). Johnny Depp is spot on and the screenplay is written amazingly. A must see in my book!

The Rum Diary
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Released: 2011

Customer Ratings