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The Rum Diary (2011)

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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)
4,192 ( 262)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aaron Lustig ...
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?


This was the first film directed by Bruce Robinson since Jennifer 8 (1992) 19 years earlier. See more »


When Kemp prepares to get breakfast with Hal Sanderson, he puts on his glasses. In the next shot, the glasses are gone. He stands up and picks up them up from the table. See more »


Paul Kemp: [Kemp and Sala are wandering down a pier late at night, high on hallucinogens] I thought I was losing grip in there. What did we take?
Sala: I don't know.
Paul Kemp: We need to get some more.
[Kemp stops to stare at a tank full of lobsters]
Paul Kemp: [quietly] That explains it... doesn't it?
Sala: Explains what?
Paul Kemp: The world... and us.
[he stares deep into the eyes of one particular lobster]
Paul Kemp: [voiceover] I wonder what it is you might think about our different worlds. He looked at me kinda sideways and said, "Human beings are the only ...
See more »


Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.16 (2011) See more »


Let's Go Funky
Written by Theodore Taylor
Performed by Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers
Courtesy of Alligator Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

'Heres to Pretty women, with dirty thoughts'
15 November 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I adored the novel, The Rum Diary and as an aid worker I related to many of the character's struggles. Although the film does stray quite a bit from the book itself, I think it's a perfect homage to Hunter S Thompson. The language still reeks of his Gonzo fury writing and manages to transport the audience into a drunken rant, as well as secretly educating them on the struggles of a free press. It had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion, as well as the packed out cinema that I viewed it with.

I rated this movie a 9 and the last film I rated that high was The Shining. I personally think this film was perfect. The leading actress/actors were perfect and the supporting cast phenomenal, especially Giovanni Ribisi. The only problem with this film in my opinion is that if you are not a fan of the gibbering, artistically nervous tone of most of Thompson's work, this film may be too heavy for you. Although it's easier to follow that Fear and Loathing (which scrupulously stuck to the dialogue from the novel Fear and loathing), many would find the dialogue bizarre.

Personally I loved every minute of this film and think it's already truly underrated.

64 of 89 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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