Rachel McAdams has been in her fair share of notable, high-profile movies. She was in Wedding Crashers, Red Eye, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Southpaw. She has also been in a few clunkers such as Aloha, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, The Hot Chick, and The Vow. For the most of her career, though, McAdams has made smart choices, and she proved that recently with 2017s Disobedience, a movie that wasn’t controversial as a whole but more for the steamy sex scene between leads Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz.
None of the above-mentioned movies made our list of Rachel McAdams’ best movies, which could be surprising as some of those (with the exception of the clunkers) are solid entries. But she’s done even better. Below is our list of Rachel Mcadams’ must-see movies.
RACHEL MCADAMS IN SPOTLIGHT
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 8.9/10
Serious and solid. Spotlight won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay as it followed an investigation into the alleged widespread and systemic child sex abuse by a number of Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area. The 2015 movie starred heavyweights Michael Keaton as true-life Boston Globe reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Walter “Robby” Robinson, Mark Ruffalo as another real-life Boston Globe reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Rezendes, and finally, Rachel McAdams, who played real-life Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Sacha Pfeiffer.
The three lead actors are part of the Spotlight team, a unit of the Boston Globe that is the oldest continuous operating investigative journalist unit in the United States. Keaton, Ruffalo, and McAdams comprise the team that digs into the Catholic Church covering up the child abuse which had gone on for years and years.
With material so controversial and vast, director Tom McCarthy passed the first time he was asked to direct it but then changed his mind. He told Deadline, “As I said, I passed the first time! That’s probably some indication of how intimidating it was. But I think, as always, with any big assignment, once you get over that initial shock and awe of how much material there was to cover, you start digging into the material and become really fascinated by and engaged with it, and we did.” This Rachel McAdams movie is deep and shocking, but an important movie to see.
WORKING FOR WOODY ALLEN IN MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 8.5/10
The 2011 movie Midnight in Paris reunited Rachel McAdams with her Wedding Crashers co-star Owen Wilson. It’s a fantasy romantic drama written and directed by Woody Allen that tells the story of Wilson’s Gil Pender, who is a screenwriter by trade, who finds himself on vacation in Paris with his fiancée Inez (played by McAdams).
After a night of drinking, Gil goes out for a walk and while out, he is approached by a 1920s car. Gil is urged to join the occupants of the car as they are on their way to a party and he does. It’s a 20s party that includes Hemmingway, Cole Porter, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. When Gil decides to leave to grab one of his scripts to show Hemmingway, he realizes he has returned to the present day. The time travel story has Gil dealing with his poor relationship with Inez and how he tries to put his life back together. The movie is classic Allen and quite enjoyable.
RACHEL MCADAMS IN DOCTOR STRANGE
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 8.2/10
Rachel McAdams made her one and only appearance in a superhero movie with the 2016 Marvel entry Doctor Strange. She played Dr. Christine Palmer, who initially was to be Stephen Strange’s love interest but right before filming commenced it was changed so that Palmer was Strange’s lover from the past, someone who would link Strange to his former self after he becomes Doctor Strange.
Marvel President Kevin Feige explained the change of Rachel McAdams’ Palmer to Entertainment Weekly, saying she is “his sort of lynchpin to his old life, once he steps into the role of a sorcerer. She is someone he connects with at the beginning, and reconnects with, and helps anchor his humanity.” Check out Doctor Strange if you haven’t already. If so, watch it again. It is one of the better entries in the MCU.
STARRING IN A MOST WANTED MAN
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 7.75/10
This 2014 Rachel McAdams espionage thriller is based on the 2008 novel of the same name written by John le Carré. The movie stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his last starring role which was released before his death. It also stars Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, and Daniel Brühl.
A Most Wanted Man is led by Hoffman, who plays the leader of a covert German government team that looks to find local informants who may have ties to Islamic terrorist organizations. Rachel McAdams plays an immigration lawyer who gets involved with a political refugee that is on Hoffman’s radar. Hoffman’s character is driven not only to turn informants to his side but also to track down the large terrorist organizations. He pulls McAdams and others into his web, even as things begin to unravel.
Many times it is hard to translate an espionage novel into a movie, but this one is handled nicely. You won’t be disappointed in what Rachel McAdams does here.
RACHEL MCADAMS IN GAME NIGHT
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 7.7/10
Rachel McAdams can do comedy (Wedding Crashers, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga), she just doesn’t do enough of it. In the 2018 comedy Game Night, she plays Annie Davis wife to Jason Bateman’s Max Davis. The couple, along with a group of friends, host game night, alternating residences. Max and Annie are ultracompetitive, which is how they met and found mutual attraction. For years they had been trying to have children but Max is unable to make it happen because of his feeling of inadequacy surrounding his much cooler brother.
On this particular Game Night, hosted by the Davis’, Max’s brother Brooks shows up and what looks like a new game is actually real. Two masked men break in and kidnap Brooks leaving the rest of the group, including Rachel McAdams, to try and solve the “mystery”. The rest of the movie is fun and action-filled with a lot of humor. Look for Jessie Plemons as Max and Annie’s police office neighbor, an unstable and depressed man who used to be part of the game night crew until his divorce from the Davis’s old friend Debbie.
REGINA GEORGE IN MEAN GIRLS
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 7.7/10
This 2004 movie is the one that brought Rachel McAdams her initial recognition. Mean Girls starred Lindsay Lohan and had Rachel McAdams play one of the meanest of girls, Regina George, an extremely rich and popular teenager who leads the high school clique The Plastics. Her Plastic crew included Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried.
Lohan was the new girl at school and at first, is befriended by Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan), who warns her away from Regina George and the Plastics. Lindsay’s character is reluctant and instead takes in with them after the Plastics defended her against a sexist schoolmate. It is a classic good girl who gets mean then redeems herself. Rachel McAdams is delicious as George, who is due for some comeuppance. Yes, she gets it.
RACHEL MCADAMS NOW
Rachel McAdams prefers to keep her personal life on the down-low. She doesn’t participate in social media and very rarely shares what goes on behind the scenes. It is hard, though, to keep everything out of the spotlight when you are one of the most famous actresses in the world.
She has been romantically linked to some big-name actors in the past who include her The Notebook co-star Ryan Gosling, Josh Lucas, her Midnight in Paris co-star Michael Sheen, and possibly her True Detective co-star Taylor Kitsch. There seems to be a pattern between Rachel McAdams and her partners.
So, it may come as a surprise that for the past few years, Rachel McAdams has been cohabitating with screenwriter Jamie Linden. Not only are they cohabitating, but the couple recently had a son, born in 2018. “It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me, hands down,” McAdams told PEOPLE magazine. “[People say] your life is not your own anymore, but I had 39 years of me, I was sick of me, I was so happy to put the focus on some other person.” She added, “I waited a long time [for motherhood].” Even though she waited a long time, she thinks now, there could be more kids in the future. “I think there is definitely room for more,” she said.
Now 41-years-old, Rachel McAdams continues to be in-demand. She was the co-lead with Will Ferrell in the big 2020 Netflix comedy Eurovision Song Contest. Next up is a possible return for her to the world of Sherlock Holmes with a third movie in the Robert Downey Jr. led franchise.
The GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE is calculated using rating averages from Rotten Tomatoes and the Internet Movie Database.