Rachel McAdams: five best moments

Her stock-in-trade may be the generic romcom, but look beyond and you’ll see there’s more to her than just a pretty face

Rachel McAdams is so much more than the good-looking love interest that she is often typecast as. While many of her films seem to be generic romcoms, they frequently fulfil – or in the case of Mean Girls, subvert – their genre cleverly, and she continually shows her willingness to take on interesting projects. As this week sees the release of her new film, Southpaw, we’re looking back on her defining moments.

Mean Girls

Disguised as a regular teen comedy, this Tina Fey-scripted cult classic depicts the drama of an American high school with the wit and insight of everything Fey has written combined. McAdams is the manipulative Regina George, and manages to play the utterly hateable character with the perfect amount of saccharine awfulness.

A Most Wanted Man

You know what? Even though McAdams gives a very good performance as an immigration lawyer in this John le Carré adaptation, she does such an impressive German accent that it’s hard to remember anything else about the film. Slightly more gritty and slow compared to her usual stuff, she proves her versatility as an actor (even if the script insists on reminding us that she’s good-looking).

The Notebook

It’s hard not to swoon just writing about the Notebook: it’s a pure romance that gets even the cynics a little teary. The film is a prime example of McAdams acting in a genre classic without succumbing to the dull trap of playing just a pretty face. She is also good at kissing Ryan Gosling on a jetty in the rain.

Wedding Crashers

OK, look, it’s not the most amazing film, and I’ve always felt a bit conflicted about the scene where they throw naked women on the bed to the soundtrack of Shout by the Isley Brothers. However, McAdams holds her own against Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in this frat-pack comedy, even if she is playing the romantic lead (again).

To the Wonder

This is textbook Malick – a bit dull, philosophical, and visually spectacular with enough lens flare to give you a headache. Although the screenplay doesn’t give her much to work with, McAdams plays the childhood friend of Ben Affleck, and steps successfully out of her comfort zone into an aesthetically spectacular world.

Ruby Lott-Lavigna

The GuardianTramp

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