Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 26, 2011
    83
    Thompson's fans will embrace its twisted verbal dexterity, romantically imagining the author feverishly pulling strings from the beyond.
  2. Reviewed by: Philip Wilding
    Nov 7, 2011
    80
    A fitting tribute to Hunter and the demise of the American Dream, but first and foremost a thrilling and funny snapshot of a country on its knees and a writer finding his feet.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Holleman
    Oct 28, 2011
    75
    Depp shows again that he truly understands Thompson by delivering a nuanced performance that is remarkably different, but subliminally similar, from the wonderfully outrageous turn he provided in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."
  4. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 27, 2011
    75
    Jazzy and colorful, full of men and women in swell clothes driving cool cars, The Rum Diary has a bit of a seedily exotic Graham Greene vibe, and Robinson moves things along at a nice, casual clip, even in the film's more overheated moments.
  5. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Oct 27, 2011
    75
    A big, rambling, entertaining love letter to the late Hunter S. Thompson.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Oct 27, 2011
    70
    An agreeable time-waster for the onlookers and its star. The Rum Diary isn't a corrective to Johnny Depp's kid-centric career, more like a vacation from it, in a resort where the visitors are strange, the natives are restless and the flow of alcohol endless.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 27, 2011
    70
    The Rum Diary is enjoyable enough, after its digressive, episodic and voyeuristic fashion. But neither Depp nor Robinson seems quite aware that Thompson's story - both in terms of his brief career in Puerto Rico and in terms of his life - was at least as much a story of tragedy and self-immolation as it was of genius.
  8. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Oct 27, 2011
    70
    The Rum Diary is so visually enchanting that many viewers may be too lost in a haze of charm to care that the film never develops Thompson's then-nascent wisdom any further than the young writer did in the novel itself.
  9. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 26, 2011
    70
    You also get drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. By the time the movie is half over, you'll feel hungover.
  10. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Oct 22, 2011
    70
    Temperance of a different sort, a willful abstention from trippy stylistic excess, is what makes this 1960-set Caribbean picaresque easily the most lucid screen adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's work, even if it's still several drafts shy of a fully developed yarn.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 28, 2011
    67
    Depp is disappointingly recessive here, as he often is when he's playing characters who don't have an antic streak.
  12. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 26, 2011
    67
    "Fear And Loathing" star Johnny Depp more or less reprises his role as Thompson's alter ego, once again playing a journalist whose yen for excess obscures the idealism at his core. But the film, despite its obvious intelligence and flashes of wit, doesn't bring that passion across.
  13. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 22, 2011
    67
    The result is a subpar comic adventure that's nonetheless admirable for its restrained vision of Thompson in his early gestation period.
  14. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Oct 28, 2011
    63
    Essentially an affectionate and personal project to honour Thompson's memory, The Rum Diary occasionally strains to evoke the journalist's surreal black humour.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Oct 28, 2011
    63
    Intermittently interesting, but well-intentioned, it almost makes up for "The Tourist."
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 27, 2011
    63
    The tale was no doubt meant to convey Kemp/Thompson's boozy aimlessness, but the film feels disjointed and meandering as a result.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 27, 2011
    63
    At best diverting, at worst drearily conventional, The Rum Diary is pre-gonzo Thompson, before the fusion of fact and trippy fantasy that flowered into a brilliant delirium.
  18. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 27, 2011
    63
    There isn't a sophisticated or "adult" perspective to be found in The Rum Diary.
  19. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 26, 2011
    63
    We have the feeling that Kemp/Thompson saw much of life through the bottom of a dirty glass and did not experience it with any precision. The film duplicates this sensation, not with much success.
  20. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Oct 26, 2011
    63
    Though it only rarely reaches the level of gonzo farce that it might have been, "Diary" is still an agreeably drunken stagger through the novel Thompson based on his formative year as a writer.
  21. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 28, 2011
    60
    Luckily, the cast is comfortable going with the flow. Ribisi is amusingly corrosive, while Jenkins and Rispoli are sweaty, cigar-chomping movie-journalist archetypes.
  22. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Oct 27, 2011
    60
    A mild lark disguised as a wild bender, The Rum Diary is also a touching tribute to Thompson himself.
  23. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Oct 27, 2011
    60
    In every move, Depp makes you believe this was a passion project for the actor, one he dedicates to Thompson.
  24. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Oct 25, 2011
    60
    You can't deny the fun of seeing Depp retro-construct a muted version of his Vegas mugging like De Niro riffing on Brando's Don Corleone. (His reaction to swigging homemade rum is worth the price of admission alone.)
  25. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Oct 28, 2011
    50
    The legend of Thompson is immortal, though, and it'll fall to each generation to jam him into its own mold. Depp and Robinson's view is that Thompson was like a mullet: a party in the back but all business upfront.
  26. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Oct 27, 2011
    50
    The weakest link here is Heard, who possesses the icy cool of Kim Novak but whose character never quite comes into fuller focus than as a hyper-sexualized object of desire.
  27. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 27, 2011
    50
    That the movie is leisurely and unconventional is all part of its charm, too - until it isn't anymore. The movie is a tale of corruption, but then it's not. It's a love story, but no, not quite. Later, it flirts with becoming a great journalism tale, or at least a whimsical journalism tale, but that vein leads nowhere, too. Nor is it much of anything else.
  28. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 27, 2011
    50
    The Rum Diary has been retroactively Hunter S. Thompson-ized. And not for the better.
  29. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 27, 2011
    50
    There are times when the story behind the making of a film is more interesting than the finished product. This is one of those occasions.
  30. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Oct 27, 2011
    50
    Despite some scattered moments of bad craziness involving the hero and his drinking buddies (Michael Rispoli, Giovanni Ribisi), the spine of the story is no strange and terrible saga but a conventional morality tale.
  31. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Oct 26, 2011
    50
    To the audience, this stuff seems like awfully old news. We're supposed to be witnessing the birth of a great journalist, but Hunter S. Thompson, as his career went on, got swallowed up by his mystique as an outlaw of excess. In The Rum Diary, that myth becomes an excuse for a movie to go slumming.
  32. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 25, 2011
    50
    Johnny Depp is dismally miscast as the alter ego of the rebellious author with the "screw you" attitude.
  33. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Oct 25, 2011
    50
    The Rum Diary could use a shot of the mania that fueled Terry Gilliam's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." As deadpan as he is, Depp could use a crazed Benicio Del Toro to complement his cool.
  34. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Oct 25, 2011
    50
    The Rum Diary, Bruce Robinson's amorphous hodgepodge of a film, wants to be many things: period recreation, social commentary, morality play, romance, an insider look at the newspaper game.
  35. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Oct 22, 2011
    50
    The Rum Diary remains a relatively mild diversion, not at all unpleasant but neither compelling nor convulsive.
  36. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Oct 27, 2011
    40
    What The Rum Diary lacks in narrative astonishment it almost makes up for in boozy charm. Depp, Ribisi, and Rispoli are a sight to behold.
  37. 30
    The Rum Diary has no mighty gonzo wind. Even with a push from its Thompson-worshipping star, Johnny Depp, it leaves our freak flag limp.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 99 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 27
  2. Negative: 6 out of 27
  1. Oct 30, 2011
    10
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  2. Oct 31, 2011
    10
    superb film. thats all that needs to be said. like fresh air to parched lungs. the film does everything it sets out to do! don't be put off bysuperb film. thats all that needs to be said. like fresh air to parched lungs. the film does everything it sets out to do! don't be put off by delusional reviewers who have become so blinded by the hollywood blockbuster. the film provides a welcome change to the film industry that i believe everyone should be a part of Full Review »
  3. Mar 18, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. "We're not like the others. We're your friends." Oscar Z. Acosta aka Dr. Gonzo

    If you are a Hunter S. Thompson fan, an aspiring writer or just a weirdo freak, then this is one more great movie that will make you feel at home, no matter where you happen to be. Of course, it makes much more sense to actually read nowadays, for all sorts of devious advantages, but, with the main vein strapped into the American Dream Machine, this is a sobering second place for lost souls and harmless maniacs alike. Be warned though fellow traveler in the land of the weird, Johnny Depp does not want to tell you what you want to hear in this movie. HST speaks from the grave through Depp to tell you exactly what you need to hear. As a result, it is little wonder this movie did not receive a wide release but, it is, however, an instant underground classic for swine who prefer to see the world as it is, sans the rose colored glasses of hypocritical greed, clinically depressed decadence and gross debauchery.

    A word of caution lest you be of the meek and timid sort. This is a dose of reality seldom seen in a movie or work of literature. This is a story for what Nietzsche referred to as the "Ã
    Full Review »