The Best Movie Makeovers Of All Time

Sorry, I’m a sucker for almost everything.

I’m kind of over the point in my life where I pretended to dislike popular things solely for the sake of “coolness.” Gone are the days of ostentatiously eschewing the likes of pop music or chick flicks for the sake of some sort of cool girl credibility. I love what I love, and that’s that. Some days I just want to read the translated works of 20th century Mexican poets. Some days I just want to listen to Beyoncé.

One category of pop culture I’ve stopped denying my love for is the cheesy rom-com. I’m sorry. I eat that shit up. One of my favorite rom-com tropes is the mid-movie makeover. We’ve all seen it. It’s cheesy and stupid and problematic and I love it. Rom-coms, of course, aren’t the only films to utilize makeovers. Here’s a list of some of my favorite makeovers of all time.

The Princess Diaries

When I mentioned “movie makeovers” to my friends, this film was first on everyone’s lips. It’s a cute, fluffy movie, and I resent it for its built-in lesson that curly, frizzy hair is decidedly not royal, but seriously, who among us hasn’t hoped that she, too, would one day get Mia Thermopolis’d?

Miss Congeniality

Are any of us immune to the charming powerhouse that is Sandra Bullock? I adore her as the no-frills, no-nonsense FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart, whose latest mission involves going undercover in the one and only Miss America pageant as Gracie Lou Freebush in a plan so bizarre that it requires Michael Caine levels of sass to succeed. Gracie’s makeover scene was only slightly less inspiring than her touching “talent” portion of the contest.

Pretty Woman

God, I love this movie. While I prefer Julia’s “before” look in this film, the makeover is worth it just for everyone’s favorite shopping revenge scene. “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”

The Breakfast Club

Few movies encapsulate the tender, trying teen years quite like The Breakfast Club. Each of the characters bring their own brand of lovable angst. As a particularly dark and brooding teen, I obviously identified most with Ally Sheedy as the mousy and strange Allison. As much as I adored her DGAF weirdness, I still loved her cute popular girl makeover courtesy of Molly Ringwald. This introduction to the “less is sometimes more” school of beauty was an important lesson for my teenage self to learn.

Crazy, Stupid Love

Women aren’t the only ones who’ve gone from zero to hero on film. With the help of suave and sexy Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell goes from awkward dad to...slightly less awkward dad. Seriously, I just love this movie so much. The comedic chemistry between Carrell and Gosling as they shop and primp is hilarious.


This is probably the most dramatic and iconic makeover of all. We owe Olivia Newton-John and her tight, tight pants for this go-to sexy Halloween look. Thank you for teaching women all over the world an important lesson: to our hearts (and Lycra) we must be true.

  • Do makeovers actually happen in real life? Have you ever gotten one?
  • What’s YOUR favorite movie makeover moment?