Bob Mondello Bob Mondello reviews movies and covers the arts for NPR News, seeing at least 250 films and 100 plays annually, and shares critiques and commentaries on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered.
Doby Photography/NPR
Bob Mondello 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Bob Mondello

Arts Critic

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career, "hired to write for every small paper in Washington, D.C., just as it was about to fold," saw that jink broken in 1984, when he came to NPR.

For more than three decades, Mondello has reviewed movies and covered the arts for NPR News, seeing at least 250 films and 100 plays annually, then sharing critiques and commentaries about the most intriguing on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered. In 2005, he conceived and co-produced NPR's eight-part series "American Stages," exploring the history, reach, and accomplishments of the regional theater movement.

Mondello has also written about the arts for such diverse publications as USA Today, The Washington Post, and Preservation Magazine, as well as for commercial and public television stations. And he has been a lead theater critic for Washington City Paper, D.C.'s leading alternative weekly, since 1987.

Before becoming a professional critic, Mondello spent more than a decade in entertainment advertising, working in public relations for a chain of movie theaters, where he learned the ins and outs of the film industry, and for an independent repertory theater, where he reveled in film history.

Asked what NPR pieces he's proudest of, he points to commentaries on silent films – a bit of a trick on radio – and cultural features he's produced from Argentina, where he and his husband have a second home. An avid traveler, Mondello even spends his vacations watching movies and plays in other countries. "I see as many movies in a year," he says. "As most people see in a lifetime."

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Drawing Connections Between 'Young Karl Marx' And 'The Cured'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/588374637/588374638" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A soon-to-be-divorced couple looks for their runaway son (Matvey Novikov) in Loveless, a pitch-black Russian drama that earned an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film. Roadside Attractions hide caption

toggle caption
Roadside Attractions

A Missing Child, A Dying Marriage And A 'Loveless' Society

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/585830007/586616152" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Ticket Sales For Marvel's 'Black Panther' Are Superhero-Sized

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/586172011/586172012" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

New Oral History Captures The Magic Of 'Angels In America'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/584369185/584640413" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Daniela Vega stars in A Fantastic Woman, the tale of a trans woman who finds herself under societal suspicion after the death of her boyfriend. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

toggle caption
Sony Pictures Classics

'A Fantastic Woman' Is As Strong And Complicated As Its Star

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/579706567/582513541" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

27: El Club De Los Malditos takes place in an alternate universe populated with persuasive look- and sound-alikes of famous musicians. (Left to right: Andres Bagg, William Prociuk, Sofía Gala Castiglione, Mariu Fernández, El Polaco, Vicky Maurette and Sadrak Jeremy) Lucas Cheja hide caption

toggle caption
Lucas Cheja

Why Do So Many Rock Stars Die At 27? Argentine Film Explores One (Insane) Theory

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/580446099/581142530" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Breaking Down The 2018 Oscar Nominations

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/580076612/580076613" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain star in Molly's Game. Michael Gibson/STXfilms hide caption

toggle caption
Michael Gibson/STXfilms

'Molly's Game' Is Aces

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/572543565/573628882" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) grapple with a big decision in The Post. Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox hide caption

toggle caption
Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox

'The Post': Pentagon Papers Put The Press Under Pressure

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/572612119/572699317" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Florida Project, The Big Sick, Coco and Girls Trip all made NPR's top list. Sony Pitcures Classics/Universal Pictures/A24/Lionsgate/Disney Pixar/Universal Studios hide caption

toggle caption
Sony Pitcures Classics/Universal Pictures/A24/Lionsgate/Disney Pixar/Universal Studios

NPR's Favorite Movies Of 2017

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/569983957/574314954" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'The Last Jedi' Is Not More Of The Same In 'Star Wars' Franchise

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/570603513/570603529" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Biopic About Figure Skater Tonya Harding Reviewed

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/569516226/569516228" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'The Disaster Artist' Is The Best Movie About A Bad Movie

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/567845891/567845911" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Your Guide To Movies Coming Out This Holiday Season

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/566283291/566283292" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Anthony Gonzalez voices Miguel in Coco. Pixar hide caption

toggle caption
Pixar

In 'Coco,' Pixar Finds Joyous Life — In Death

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/564869134/566098819" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript