We Need to Talk About Rachel McAdams' [SPOILER!] Scene in 'Southpaw'

by John Boone 9:40 AM PDT, July 26, 2015
Photo: The Weinstein Company

We need to talk about THAT scene.

(WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Southpaw. It won’t ruin the movie for you, but you should definitely go see it, then come back and read this.)

We saw Southpaw a little over a week ago and, honestly, we’re still f*cked up about Rachel McAdams’ death scene. McAdams’ character, Maureen “Mo” Hope is at a gala benefit with her husband Billy (Jake Gyllenhaal), the World Light Heavyweight boxing champion. He’s provoked by a rival boxer, a scuffle breaks out, someone pulls out a gun, and Maureen gets caught in the crossfire.

It is traumatically horrifying. More so than any death we’ve seen in a movie.

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Photo: The Weinstein Company

This might be the one instance where a trailer left us underprepared for the actual movie. Because the trailer gives it away. We knew Mo would get killed. We see her get shot in the preview. We assumed, what would ultimately be naively, that we had seen the extent of it without having seen the movie, aside from the inevitable fade to black.

Nope. Nooooooo. There are like five f*cking more minutes of that death.

Kurt Sutter, the grim reaper of Sons of Anarchy, penned the script, but this isn’t as violent as what we’ve come to expect from him. You don’t even see her get hit by the bullet. It’s his words, combined with Antoine Fuqua’s (Training Day) direction, and McAdams' acting. It’s the look on her face -- desperate, confused, gasping for air, scared, blood spitting from her mouth -- as the life leaves her. It’s chilling. It’s too realistic. Even thinking about it this far removed, we need a Xanax.

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Photo: The Weinstein Company

If there were an Oscar category for “Best Death,” McAdams would win it this year and next. Because we’d still be thinking about Southpaw. Give her “Best Supporting Actress.” Between that scene and her accent, why not? The Academy loves an accent. Hell, give her “Best Cinematography." Just give this woman an award for this. It’s the most intense part of the movie, Gyllenhaal’s body transformation included.

Still, McAdams couldn’t articulate any “How to Die on Camera 101” acting tips when we asked her at the New York premiere. “I don’t know, I didn’t feel graceful at the time,” she told ETonline with a laugh. “I had a lot of blood going on. It was a strange feeling to die. The guys were great; they made sure I had a pillow behind my head. I was very comfortable for my death.”

As for Gyllenhaal’s transformation, find out about his strict Southpaw workout: