(TC) Rachel McAdams’ 10 Best Movies, Ranked

Rachel McAdams has starred in a wide range of dramas and comedies throughout her acting career. She made her Hollywood feature film debut in the 2002 comedy The Hot Chick starring Rob Schneider before rising to fame with an extremely successful year in 2004. McAdams starred in Tina Fey’s comedy Mean Girls and alongside Ryan Gosling in The Notebook in the same year, which cemented her status as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses during the 2000s and beyond.

McAdams also appeared in the notable Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson 2005 comedy Wedding Crashers before returning to blockbusters with 2009’s Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. McAdams expanded her roles during the 2010s, appearing in several Oscar contenders which includes the winner for Best Picture at the 2016 Academy Awards. The 44-year-old actor entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016 and has appeared in two installments of the Doctor Strange franchise. Many of the actor’s most critically acclaimed works have been released within the last eight years.

10Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange Benedict Cumberbatch Christine Palmer Rachel McAdams diagnosis

McAdams entered the MCU with her role as Dr. Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange, playing the love interest of Benedict Cumberbatch’s superhero surgeon character. Doctor Strange expanded the Marvel Cinematic Universe when it first premiered in 2016 as one of the first movies part of its Phase 3 era which spanned from 2016 to 2019. McAdams returned for her role as the intelligent and likable Dr. Palmer in 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. 2016’s Doctor Strange was celebrated for its remarkable use of CGI and visual effects as well as strong performances from Cumberbatch and McAdams.

9Southpaw (2015)

Southpaw trailer and reviews

Jake Gyllenhaal shines as the protagonist boxer Billy Hope with a troubled past in Southpaw alongside Rachel McAdams who plays his wife Maureen. The film offers a deeply passionate and emotional portrayal of a natural-born fighter who earnestly embodies what it means to be dedicated to a challenging ambition, heightened by the magnificent performances of Gyllenhall and McAdams. Southpaw has a gritty screenplay from Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy, The Shield) and is directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), giving it a one-two punch that makes it a compelling watch.

8The Notebook (2004)

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams on the poster for The Notebook

One of McAdams’ most famous roles was also one of her first in The Notebook, which has remained one of the most culturally relevant romantic dramas of the 21st century along with Pride & Prejudice. While critics were divided on the quality of The Notebook, there’s no denying the impact that it had on the millennial generation and the numerous parodies it inspired as a result. The film is deeply romantic and sentimental, making it the perfect movie for viewers who are looking for an emotional and cathartic watch all the way through.

7Disobedience (2017)

Rachel Weisz about to kiss Rachel McAdams in Disobedience

McAdams starred in another romantic drama in 2017’s Disobedience alongside co-star Rachel Weisz. The film tackles challenging themes of religious orthodoxy and the rigid structure it presents on the modern spectrum of love and romantic interest. Director Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) delivers a beautiful portrait of the romantic triangle between McAdams’ character Esti, Weisz’s Ronit, and Alessandro Nivola’s Dovid. Deeply passionate and boundary-pushing, the thoughtful film offers one of McAdams’ most rich and nuanced performances to date.

6About Time (2013)

Rachel McAdams and Domnhall Gleeson laughing in the rain in the cropped poster for About Time (2013)

About Time is another profound love story starring McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson (Ex MachinaBlack Mirror). Gleeson’s Tim discovers he can travel through time and go back into his past to change the outcome of his life. In doing so, he meets McAdams’ Mary and forms a relationship with her which starts out as a beautiful positive change for him but eventually becomes more complicated. About Time is a romantic fantasy done right, full of charming character performances, witty dialogue, and sentimental elements that make it innovative and gripping to watch.

5Game Night (2018)

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams lie on the road in Game Night

Game Night is a fun and imaginative modern comedy starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, who play a married couple with a mutual love for playing games with friends. Bateman’s Mac and McAdams’ Annie find themselves in an unusual and mysterious real-life game scenario they must band together to solve. After a series of mostly dramatic acting roles throughout the 2010s, McAdams returned to the comedy genre in a major way with Game Night, proving to be a perfect match with the deadpan brilliance of Bateman.

4Mean Girls (2004)

Regina George dresses as a bunny for Halloween in Mean Girls.

McAdams has starred in several generation-defining movies in her career and Mean Girls is certainly one of them. Playing Regina George in her second Hollywood movie ever, McAdams rose to prominence from her appearance in the iconic Mark Waters film alongside Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert, and Amy Poehler. With a hilarious screenplay written by Tina Fey in her prime and outstanding casting choices in McAdams and Lohan, Mean Girls remains one of the most culturally significant comedy movies of the 21st century.

3Midnight In Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris is one of Woody Allen’s better films with a remarkable ensemble cast of McAdams, Owen Wilson, Michael Sheen, Tom Hiddleston, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Adrian Brody, and Kathy Bates. McAdams plays Gil’s (Wilson) fiancée Inez the screenwriting protagonist goes back in time and has conversations with several of his literary idols from the 1920s. The highly imaginative and well-written story is delightful to experience through the good-natured lens of Wilson’s character, invoking intellectually stimulating contemplations through a romantic and inspirational setting.

2Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. (2023)

Rachel McAdams as Barbara and Abby Ryder Fortson as Margaret standing in a store in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

McAdams’ most recent film is also among her very best, starring in the 2023 coming-of-age dramatic comedy Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. McAdams gives a stellar performance as Barbara Simon, the supportive mother of the teenage Margaret Simon played by Abby Ryder Fortson. Based on the acclaimed Judy Blume novel that has been popularized for generations, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. is somehow traditional and refreshing, featuring wholesome and relatable performances from McAdams, Fortson, and Kathy Bates.

1Spotlight (2015)

Walter and Sacha in a meeting in Spotlight

Spotlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2016 and McAdams was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the determined news reporter Sacha Pfeiffer. The Tom McCarthy film features an extraordinary ensemble cast of Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci as a group of Boston Globe reporters who uncover a massive scandal involving the Catholic Church. The profound and revealing film is incredibly poignant and treated with delicate and masterful care in every aspect, making it Rachel McAdams’ best movie.

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