The XX Factor

Let Rachel McAdams Time-Travel!

Rachel McAdams, upon noticing the appearance of yet another time portal on the red carpet.

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

In Doctor Strange, which ensorcelled the forces of the universe to the tune of $85 million at the box office this weekend, love interest Rachel McAdams is “wasted,” lamented Slate’s Jacob Brogan in his review of the movie. McAdams plays an emergency room doctor, which is pretty cool … but not as cool as the ability to manipulate time, which is among Doctor Strange’s superhero powers—so it’s no wonder Benedict Cumberbatch gets to have all the fun in the movie. Perhaps this will teach McAdams once and for all: Girl, stop playing second fiddle to time-traveling men.

Rachel McAdams’ uncanny ability to star in movies whose plots hinge on time travel—remember The Time Traveler’s Wife, Midnight in Paris, About Time?—without ever time-traveling herself has been noted before. She stood by twinkly-eyed as Eric Bana, Owen Wilson, and Domhnall Gleeson stepped out on her to traipse through history. Domhnall freaking Gleeson, for cripes sake! When 2013’s About Time came out, one news outlet went so far as to ask McAdams what the deal was. “It’s pretty unfair,” McAdams said at the time. “I’ve now done three films with time travel in them and I’ve not gotten to time travel once so I’m kind of bitter about that.”

And yet that didn’t stop her from signing on for a fourth one! In assessing her career like a mechanic might look under a car’s hood, the repeated thankless non–time-travel roles are the obvious busted carburetor (that’s a car thing, right?) of this whole endeavor: Lady, there’s your problem right there. Sure, it must be hard to say no to that sweet Marvel Cinematic Universe money, but Rachel, honey, bubby, Bezzerides, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Don’t be content to be the clueless manic pixie temporally-bound temptress whose male love interest gets to tramp all over time and space. We all know the real world is sexist, but shouldn’t we try to hold the realms of fantasy and magic to some kind of higher ideal, where all genders have equal access to opportunities to go back in time and kill baby Hitler?

The annoying thing about all this is that Rachel McAdams would be so good at time travel. As evidenced by her 1940s costumes in The Notebook and her doudy slacks in Spotlight alike, she can convincingly pull off all styles of clothing and hair. Plop her in any decade, and she’ll find a way to look good, smile her dimply smile, and charm the pants off of you while doing it. This is why we as a society must not rest until we reboot Back to the Future with Rachel McAdams as the star. Wait, no, last time we tried to reboot a beloved ’80s franchise with women, everyone flipped out. Back to the drawing board: She could play Carmen Sandiego in a movie version of Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? As evidenced by her turn as Regina George in Mean Girls, she makes the most of a villain role. She could … hmm, can we just give her Outlander? Or, how ‘bout, we remake Harry Potter, cast McAdams as an inappropriately old Hermione, hand her a Time Turner, and let her git-r-done? Honestly, Hollywood should just halt all production until we can agree on a suitable chrononaut vehicle for McAdams—the time has come.