Celebrate Rachel McAdams Birthday With a Look Back at Her Best Roles

  • November 17, 2018
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It’s time to break out the birthday cake and streamers, because it’s Rachel McAdams’ birthday!Yes, today McAdams is celebrating her 40th birthday and it seems only appropriate that we should be commemorating her big day¬†by reliving all of the amazing characters she’s brought to life throughout her career.While we would love to hang out with the Canadian actress in person, we are instead taking a look back at the star’s¬†most iconic roles since her breakout part in Mean Girls back in 2004.Mean Girls is only the beginning when it comes to the 40-year-old actress’s amazing film and TV career.For example, who can forget crying over McAdams and Ryan Gosling’s love story in The Notebook? Or when the York University alum took on the unforgettable role of Inez in Midnight in Paris?McAdams even earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for her work on biographical drama¬†Spotlight, because she was so good in it.

In 2018, the versatile actress made her return to comedy in Game Night, which had us clamoring for McAdams to do more laugh-out-loud parts in the future. Perhaps she will listen to our plea, but even if she doesn’t we will still love her no matter what type of role she takes on.Take a look back at the¬†Southpaw¬†star’s most iconic roles below and then it’s time to do the impossible.In honor of the actress’s big 4-0, we are asking you to vote on her best role to date. We know it’s not going to be easy, but now is it the time to pick your favorite. You can do it!PS: Make sure to show McAdams some love today, because let’s be honest, her acting skills make our movie-going experiences so much better.Happy Birthday Rachel, we love you!

Paramount Pictures

Mean Girls

Rachel McAdams is Regina George in this 2004 comedy. She is the queen of the Plastics and makes Cady Heron’s (Lindsay Lohan) life miserable after she falls for her ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett). It’s so fetch, you have to see it!

New Line Cinema

The Notebook

Based on Nicolas Sparks’ 1996 novel of the same name, The Notebook tells the story of local country boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) who falls in love with heiress Allie Hamilton (McAdams). Their different backgrounds throw a wrench into their romance and send them on opposite paths, but in the end love conquers all.

New Line Cinema

Wedding Crashers

In this 2005 comedy, Jonathan Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Gray (Vince Vaughn) are both womanizers until they meet Claire Cleary (McAdams) and her sister, Gloria (Isla Fisher) at a wedding they crashed in hopes of finding one-night stands.   

Glen Wilson/Universal Studios

State of Play

McAdams portrays Della Frye, a young newspaper writer, who works together with reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) to break the complex story of two seemingly unrelated deaths‚ÄĒa petty thief gunned down in alley and a Congressman’s assistant falling in front of a Metro train.¬†

New Line Cinema

The Time Traveler’s Wife

In this 2009 sci-fi drama, McAdams is the time traveler’s wife. She marries Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana), a Chicago librarian with a paranormal ability to involuntarily time travel, which causes problems in their relationship.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) thought he stopped Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), one of London’s most dangerous killers, but he soon realizes the man is on the loose again and he must impede his plan for world domination with the help of Irene Adler (McAdams). The actress returns to her role in 2011 sequel,¬†Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Paramount Pictures

Morning Glory

McAdams takes on the role of Becky, a news producer who loses her job and is forced to begin working for the struggling show, Daybreak. She must deal with the ups and down of television news in Morning Glory.

Sony Pictures Classics

Midnight in Paris

Gil (Wilson), a screenwriter, and his fiancée, Inez (McAdams), travel to Paris with her family where he discovers new inspiration for his writing when he is transported back to the 1920s on one of his midnight walks through the city in this 2011 romance. 

Sony Pictures

The Vow

McAdams teams up with Channing Tatum for this 2012 romantic drama which tells the story of Paige (McAdams), a woman who suffers severe memory loss after car accident causing her husband (Tatum) to try and win her heart all over again.

Universal Pictures

About Time

In About Time, McAdams plays Mary who falls in love with Tim (Domhnall Gleeson), a man who can time travel but must deal with the repercussions of changing the course of his life with this ability.

The Weinstein Company


McAdams portrays Maureen Hope, the wife of legendary boxer, Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Southpaw. On the night of his retirement announcement, Maureen is killed leaving Billy a single father in a self-destructive spiral until he can find his way back to the ring.

Lacey Terrell/HBO

True Detective

In season two of True Detective, McAdams takes on the role of Sergeant Ani Bezzerides, who along with Detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and Officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) work to solve the murder of corrupt city manager, Ben Caspere.


Sacha Pfeiffer (McAdams) is part of a team of Boston Globe reporters who work to uncover the local Catholic Archdiocese’s child molestation scandal in this biographical drama which won the Best Picture Oscar in 2016.

Marvel Studios

Doctor Strange

McAdams is Dr. Christine Palmer, a close confidant to Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the person who reminds him of his old world once he becomes a sorcerer in this 2016 Marvel movie.



In Disobedience, Ronit Khruska (Rachel Weisz) returns to the Orthodox Jewish community that once shunned her for being attracted to a close female friend only to find that her passion for the woman (McAdams) remains after many years of their lives moving in different directions.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Game Night

In this 2018 comedy, McAdams plays Annie, who along with her friends, finds herself entangled in a real-life mystery surrounding the kidnapping of her brother-in-law instead of taking part in the group’s typical weekly game nights.¬†

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