The Rum Diary

Theatrical Release: October 28, 2011
The Rum Diary


“The Rum Diary” tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp. Tiring of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper, The San Juan Star, run by downtrodden editor Lotterman. Adopting the rum-soaked life of the island, Paul soon becomes obsessed with Chenault, the wildly attractive Connecticut-born fiancée of Sanderson. When Kemp is recruited by Sanderson to write favorably about his latest unsavory scheme, the journalist is presented with a choice: to use his words for the corrupt businessmen’s financial benefit, or use them to take the b*stards down.

Dove Review

Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) is an American who winds up living far from his homeland. He’s a writer, and he says he wants to find his “voice” in writing and to write with a purpose. He winds up working for a newspaper in San Juan in the sixties. However, Paul finds drinking and women, and not necessarily in that order, to be a distraction and he doesn’t do much to pursue his original dreams. He is a novelist who has remained unpublished.

A public relations man named Hal Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) gives Paul an opportunity to work with him but soon Paul finds himself attracted to Sanderson’s girlfriend, Chenault ((Amber Heard). She loves to party and Paul joins her, boozing it up and becoming even more distracted from his original purpose in writing with a “voice”. However, when Paul sees an abandoned girl living in a car, and how Sanderson treats the poor, he decides to write about the corruption he sees. Kemp notes that “Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a God and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn’t got one.”

Depp, the modern “man of a thousand faces” creates another interesting character to add to his legion of roles. The film features a positive theme as we see Kemp change and remember why he writes. However, the content in the film is very strong, including the language, sex, violence, drugs and nudity categories. The only content listing under a rating of three is the “other” category which receives a rating of two. For these reasons, we regrettably cannot award this movie our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.

Content Description

Sex: Several sexual comments including the "F" word in a sexual context; an unmarried couple is seen making love from a distance and the woman's bare breast is briefly seen; side of woman's breast seen in a later scene; a "gay" joke when two males drive in a car and one sits on the other's lap due to a problem regarding the seat; a man blows a kiss at another man.
Language: GD-1; J/JC-5; G/OMG-5; F-29; S-7; H-4; P-1; B-1; A-2; D-2; Crap-1: Slang for male genitalia-5
Violence: Characters throw fruit and various things at a moving car, a car is hit by a person with a sign; a police officer kicks a character and uses his Billy club on him; a comment about a rape; characters are chased in their car by others; bottles thrown at car while it's moving; a car's windshield is smashed; moonshine is used with fire as a flamethrower; a man's hat and face is set on fire; a man is punched in the face.
Drugs: There is a lot of drinking in this movie including scotch, rum, beer, moonshine and champagne; a man smokes what appears to be a marijuana cigarette but I am not certain, it is either that or a cigarette; characters have hangovers; beer cans seen on floor; bar scenes; several smoking scenes including cigars and cigarettes; a man has an unlit cigar in mouth fairly often.
Nudity: Cleavage, woman's breast briefly seen; side of woman's breast seen; shirtless men; short skirts; woman in bikini.
Other: A cock fight; attitudes and disrespect by some characters; a gambling scene at a casino; a man steals another man's sailboat; a religious writer seems to hate Christianity; a scene involving a voodoo practice; a character is rude to a store owner.


Company: FilmDistrict
Writer: Bruce Robinson & Hunter S. Thompson
Director: Bruce Robinson
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 120 min.
Industry Rating: R
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter