As a film journalist and critic, Tara McNamara loves watching movies. But more than that, she loves spurring audiences to think about movies.
Tara is a frequent contributor to TV, print, and digital outlets including Variety, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, CNN, and Newsy. In print and on screen, she focuses on motivating people to reflect on how media messages affect their own actions and opinions. To that end, she has appeared as the Fandango Film Mom, cohosted the digital series “Mom’s Movie Minute,” and had recurring segments “Reel Moms” on Today and “Parents Guide” on The Insider. Currently she’s on staff as a film critic for Common Sense Media and as an analyst for Common Sense Networks’ Sensical streaming app.
Tara’s film journalism career began in 2002, while she was working as a VJ and news anchor for Country Music Television. She and her son, Cole, then nine years old, spent hours devouring Turner Classic Movies together. Their binge viewing ignited a passion for films that inspired them to create KidsPickFlicks, a website where kids of all ages could send in their own movie reviews, providing a kids-eye view of movies offered by no other site. Mother and son ran the site for a decade, until it was acquired by tween pop culture site Fanlala.
Movies continue to be a family affair. After Tara’s 18-year-old daughter Riley declared ‘80s movies to be her generation’s classics, the duo created 80sMovieGuide.com and the podcast ‘80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents, celebrating why we love ’80s movies, why some of their messages are so messed up, and how they affected a generation. In 2019, Tara became HDNet Movies’ first female host alongside actress Lea Thompson for the network’s Iconic ‘80s Week.
Tara is a member of the Critics Choice Association, where she’s leading a committee to recognize female-forward entertainment. She currently lives in Hermosa Beach, California, with her husband, Andy, and 11-year-old son, Tate.