Rachel McAdams is one of the hardest working actresses in showbiz today. Since first bursting onto the scene in the early 2000s, this Oscar-nominated performer has starred in more than two dozen films, many of which have become classics. From hilarious comedies to hard-hitting dramas, here are our picks of the 10 best Rachel McAdams movies.
This indie drama follows the story of a New York City photographer named Ronit (played by Rachel Weisz) who, after the death of her father, returns to the strict Orthodox Jewish community in which she was raised. Having been shunned from the community years prior for being sexually attracted to her childhood friend, Esti (played by McAdams), Ronit struggles to be accepted while coming to terms with her reignited feelings for the now-married Esti. Released in 2017, Disobedience was generally well-received by critics and both Weisz and McAdams were praised for their performances. The movie was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.
9. Game Night
Starring alongside Jason Bateman as a couple obsessed with their weekly game nights with friends, Rachel McAdams is hilarious in this lively 2018 comedy directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. In addition to being filled with laughs, it’s packed with action as the game-playing couple unwittingly get involved in a deadly kidnapping. The movie was a surprise hit both with critics and at the box office, and was an awesome opportunity for McAdams to flex her comedy muscles. “Comedy still really intimidates me,” she told the New York Times in 2018. “I am in awe of true comedians. Although they work very hard at it, I think it’s something they’re born with and the rest of us are just running to keep up. Comedies that are a little outside the box just don’t come along every day — and they don’t come my way every day, certainly.”
8. Red Eye
Directed by the late Wes Craven in a rare departure from the horror genre, this psychological thriller was a surprise box office hit when it was released in 2005. McAdams plays a young hotel manager who finds herself caught up in an assassination plot spearheaded by a creepy domestic terrorist (played by a very creepy Cillian Murphy). Also featuring Brian Cox and Jack Scalia, the film is filled with twists and turns and plenty of exciting action—all of which takes place on a claustrophobic red-eye flight to Miami. “In terms of the confinement, that actually worked for me,” McAdams told RadioFree.com. “The cameras were so close and Cillian was there at all times, I was literally stuck in the seat for twelve hours a day, everyone’s watching you, and it’s all on your head. And that kind of pressure added to the tension and the urgency.”
7. The Notebook
Based on the popular Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name, The Notebook has become a beloved romantic drama. While the movie received mixed reviews from critics when it was first released in 2004, audiences couldn’t get enough of the on-screen chemistry between McAdams and her co-star, Ryan Gosling. And as it turned out, neither could the actors—Gosling and McAdams went on to date for two years after meeting on the set of this movie. “I mean, God bless The Notebook,” Gosling sweetly said in a 2007 interview with GQ. “It introduced me to one of the great loves of my life.”
6. Wedding Crashers
McAdams followed her star-turning performance in The Notebook with a supporting role in this raunchy 2005 comedy. Starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as a couple of buddies who crash wedding to meet women, the movie was s smash hit, opening #2 at the box office (behind the big-budget Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and grossing more than $288 million worldwide. It also introduced audiences to a then-unknown Bradley Cooper as McAdams’s wonderfully jerky fiancé, Zachary “Sack” Lodge.
5. State Of Play
Set in Washington DC, this tense 2009 political thriller features a star-studded cast that includes Russell Crowe, Robin Wright, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels, and Helen Mirren. McAdams shines in her supporting role as an unseasoned but driven blogger who helps investigate a murder that leads to a government cover-up. “It was great, because I met journalists that were on both sides of things,” McAdams told FanCarpet. “People who are young, enthusiastic and hard-working journalists working on the online side and people who had been there forever. There was one journalist who had running shoes under her desk in case she had to kick of her heels and go out and cover a breaking news story.” State of Play received mostly positive reviews when it was released in 2009 and earned a respectable $88.8 million worldwide at the box office.
4. Midnight In Paris
One of Woody Allen’s highest-grossing films, Midnight in Paris stars Owen Wilson as Gil, a successful Hollywood screenwriter vacationing in Paris with his wife, played by Rachel McAdams. Mysteriously, Gil finds himself being transported back in time to the 1920s each evening at midnight. Released in 2011, the fantasy-comedy won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. It was also nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Art Direction.
3. Doctor Strange
In this 2016 Marvel flick, Rachel McAdams plays Dr. Christine Palmer, an emergency surgeon who watches her friend and colleague, Dr. Stephen Strange, embark on a life-changing journey after a car accident. The action-packed film grossed a worldwide total of $677.7 million and was well-received by critics. It even received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch, whom McAdams was thrilled to be cast alongside. “The opportunity to work with Benedict was kind of a no-brainer,” the actress told MTV in 2015. “And Marvel makes amazing films, so it was a complete package.”
2. Mean Girls
Rachel McAdams’s performance as rich bitch Regina George in this 2005 cult classic comedy has become iconic. An unknown actress at the time (she had only made one other mainstream American movie, 2002’s The Hot Chick), Mean Girls put McAdams on the map. It not only catapulted her into Hollywood stardom but also cemented her status as one of the most quotable and GIF-worthy characters of the early 21st century. “Does Regina George haunt me every day? She does have that quality,” McAdams told the New York Times in 2018. “No, I have to thank Regina George for giving me some longevity.”
McAdams’s amazing range as an actress is obvious in this 2015 biographical drama, which tells the true story of The Boston Globe’s investigation into years of covered-up child abuse within the Catholic Church. Also starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci, it won the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as Best Original Screenplay. The film also earned McAdams her first and only Academy Award nomination to date, for Best Supporting Actress. “I was half-asleep wondering why my publicist was calling me at 5:45,” the actress said of getting the news about her nomination. “Then I saw every person who I had ever loved or knew had texted me. I thought there had been some catastrophic event in the world.”