The Basketball Diaries

Metascore
46

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 19
  2. Negative: 5 out of 19

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Darren Bignell
    60
    Without rising star DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg this would have been considerably more turgid and unappealing. But their charm allows sympathy and involvement with the characters, despite their efforts towards self-destruction.
  2. A sensationalist grunge festival spiked with dollops of poetry on the sound track.
  3. 50
    The movie is unconvincing. At the end, Jim is seen going in through a "stage door," and then we hear him telling the story of his descent and recovery. We can't tell if this is supposed to be genuine testimony or a performance. That's the problem with the whole movie.
  4. The results are more sleazy than insightful.
  5. Basketball Diaries is an earnest, botched effort to do justice to Carroll's book. Amazingly, though, even with Kalvert's lack of style and vision, the greatness of DiCaprio's performance is undiminished.
  6. The star shines, but the movie is hard to watch.
  7. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    The Basketball Diaries is a weak-tea rendition of Jim Carroll's much-admired cult tome about his teenage drug addiction. Leonardo DiCaprio's committed lead performance deserves a better context than this gloss on the source material.
  8. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: John Petrakis
    50
    It's more of a pastiche, a montage of brutality, a slow descent into Dante's Inferno until we reach the subbasement of a boy's soul. [21 Apr 1995]
User Score
3.7

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 82 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jun 27, 2016
    6
    "The Basketball Diaries" was a good movie but also very frustrating , first by the title , that is focusing the life of Jim Carroll and"The Basketball Diaries" was a good movie but also very frustrating , first by the title , that is focusing the life of Jim Carroll and Leonardo DiCaprio did his job , besides the story speaks only of young drug addicts pranksters and not they became talented basketball players , but beyond that the tone was good . Full Review »
  2. Jan 22, 2011
    9
    Was not sure what to expect coming into the movie but was very pleased with it. Young Leonardo DiCaprio was as good as he was in Inception.Was not sure what to expect coming into the movie but was very pleased with it. Young Leonardo DiCaprio was as good as he was in Inception. Mark Wahlberg did not get very much recognition for the film, I actually did not even know he was in it until the credits rolled, but did an equally astounding job. Basketball Diaries was mos definitely edgy pushing the limits. A fine addition for DiCaprio lovers and movie collectors. Full Review »