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David Rooney

Chief Film Critic

As Chief Film Critic, David Rooney reviews the latest releases and premieres from major festivals including Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Toronto. He was formerly THR’s Chief Theater Critic and continues to review Broadway when time permits. Based in New York City, he is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics and New York Drama Critics Circle. Prior to joining THR, he was Chief Italian Correspondent for Variety before moving to New York, where he became Chief Theater Critic. Rooney's work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone. He has served on the nominating panel for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and multiple times for the Gotham Awards. David’s writing for THR has won three Southern California Journalism Awards and a National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award.

More from David Rooney

Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the Best Films of 2023

A romantic collision of past and present, a subversive feminist fairy tale, a metaphysical ghost story, an epic retelling of a horrific footnote in American history and a sublime anti-rom-com are among this year’s highlights.

‘The Iron Claw’ Review: Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White in Sean Durkin’s Conventional but Affecting Wrestling Drama

Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany and Lily James also star in the elegiac salute to the Von Erichs, a Texas sports dynasty walloped by a string of tragedies.

Critics’ Conversation: The Great Film Performances of 2023

THR film reviewers delight in an assortment of deliciously unlikable lead turns, single out stars delivering career bests (a wild Emma Stone, a wily Natalie Portman) and celebrate new and rising talents from various corners of the globe.

‘Wonka’ Review: Timothée Chalamet Sings, Dances and Gets Gooey in Cloying Musical Prequel

Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman and Keegan-Michael Key also appear in the origin story of Roald Dahl’s magical chocolatier, from ‘Paddington’ director Paul King.

‘Napoleon’ Review: Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby Get Bogged Down in the Battles of Ridley Scott’s Historical Epic

David Scarpa’s screenplay covers three decades of European history as the military commander triumphs in the Revolutionary Wars and rises to Emperor of France, only to end his life in exile.

‘Merchant Ivory’ Review: Illuminating Doc Examines the Private and Professional Sides of an Enduring Film Partnership

The prolific company founded by producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory became synonymous with elegant literary adaptations in the 1980s and ‘90s.

‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ Review: Jennifer Lawrence Is Sorely Missed in Dour Prequel Short on Excitement

Tom Blyth stars as young Coriolanus Snow, charged with mentoring Rachel Zegler’s District 12 Tribute in this earlier chapter of the $2.9 billion franchise, also featuring Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman and Viola Davis.

‘The Exorcist: Believer’ Review: Early Intrigue Devolves Into Unoriginal Excess in David Gordon Green’s Sequel

Leslie Odom Jr. heads a cast that includes Ann Dowd and Ellen Burstyn, the latter reprising her role from William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic for the first time.

‘Foe’ Review: Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal Are Too Magnetic to Be Mired in All This Dystopian Murk

Garth Davis directs Amazon's horror-tinged psychological sci-fi feature, also starring Aaron Pierre as a corporate rep conscripting space colonists and sowing division in a young couple's marriage.

‘Dance First’ Review: Gabriel Byrne Talks to Himself in James Marsh’s Ponderous Beckett Bio-Drama

Fionn O’Shea, Sandrine Bonnaire and Aidan Gillen also star in this fragmented account of the Irish existentialist writer’s life, framed by his reluctant acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

‘The Creator’ Review: John David Washington Gets Caught Up in AI War in Gareth Edwards’ Baggy, Sentimental Sci-Fi Epic

Gemma Chan, Allison Janney and Ken Watanabe also star in the post-apocalyptic action thriller, which pits U.S. military against a robot menace 10 years after a nuclear explosion levels Los Angeles.

The Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the 15 Best Films of the Fall Fests 

Career highs for Emma Stone and Nicolas Cage, a delicious Frederick Wiseman doc, a poignant gay ghost story and two knockout dramas about the refugee crisis in Europe are among THR critics’ 15 faves from Venice, Telluride and Toronto.