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The Rum Diary (2011)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  28 October 2011 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 83,335 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 161 user | 277 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

American journalist Paul Kemp takes on a freelance job in Puerto Rico for a local newspaper during the 1960s and struggles to find a balance between island culture and the expatriates who live there.



(screenplay), (novel)
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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marshall Bell ...
Tisuby González ...
Natalia Rivera ...


Hard-drinking journalist Paul Kemp takes a job at a besieged newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His volatile editor, Lotterman, assigns him to tourist pieces and horoscopes, but promises more. Paul rooms with Sala, an aging and equally alcoholic reporter, in a rundown flat. Sanderson, a wealthy entrepreneur, hires Paul to flack for a group of investors who plan to buy an island near the capital and build a resort. Sanderson's girl-friend, the beguiling Chenault, bats her eyes at Paul. His loyalties face challenges when he and Sala get in trouble with locals, when a Carnival dance enrages Sanderson, and when the paper hits the skids. Is the solution always alcohol? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


One part outrage. One part justice. Three parts rum. Mix well. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, brief drug use and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

28 October 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,135,369 (USA) (28 October 2011)


$13,100,042 (USA) (16 December 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The final black and white still shot at the very end of the movie is not Puerto Rico, where the movie takes place, but Aruba. The author is shown sitting on a bench at the Aruba Palm Beach Club with a bottle of Amstel beer. The Aruba Caribbean Hotel, in the background, was the first resort hotel constructed on Palm Beach. The author visited Aruba while living in Puerto Rico. The photo is also the book's cover photo. See more »


When Kemp and Sala experience the effects of the mysterious drug while walking outside by the docks, the lobster in the tank is a Maine lobster (large claws), not a Caribbean lobster (no claws). See more »


Paul Kemp: Oscar Wilde once said, "Nowadays, people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing."
See more »


Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.16 (2011) See more »


Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto De Blue)
Written by Domenico Modugno, Franco Migliacci and Mitchell Parish
Performed by Dean Martin
Courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"Are they not complimentary?"
17 November 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Plot Summary Now if your the sort of person that needs a definitive story line and thick plot to enjoy a film then this probably isn't for you. Its more a 'fly on the wall' view of a young journalists struggles in a failing newspaper. Paul Kemp(Depp) is a young man trying to make his way in a new place, making new friends and enemy's along the way.

What I thought of it I wasn't sure what I would think of this film, I new it has some great actors, such as Johnny Depp and Giovanni Ribisi, but the concept of the film was a strange one. I was pleasantly surprised, the director Bruce Robinson has done a great job with this film, which was always going to be a very tough job being adapted from a novel by Hunter S Thompson and technically having next to no strong plot.

The film itself is stunning, the locations are amazing and well shot, and the editing style and shots work brilliantly with the type of film and more importantly with Johnny Depp, who has a massive screen presence in everything he does, including 'The Rum Diary'.

This film has everything I want to see in a good movie, strong characters, great sets and brilliant comedy, along with meaning. It really makes you think about society and life nowadays and how primarily, nothing has changed in the way the world goes round and the sort of corruption and manipulation that still goes on today all around us, as it did back in the fifties, only less obviously.

On a lighter note, this film is hilarious and great to watch more than once, there is something rather satisfying about watch a man drink huge amounts of high octane rum and have to deal with the consequences the next morning, something that makes you happy its not only you.

Summary In all I thought this was a very enjoyable film for anyone to watch and have a good laugh at while loving everything about the characters. The acting is scintillating and exciting.

I highly recommend this film to all, one to watch ..... 7/10 Stars*

43 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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