Of course, these people are famous actors and actresses, but the “before” pictures can still be hard to watch. So which makeovers are the most famous, the most important, and the most game-changing? Let’s find out.
Prepping For Her Prinze
The makeover scene from “She's All That” has become one of the most iconic in the history of filmmaking. Rachael Leigh Cook, in a messy bun and thick glasses, dressed in paint-splattered overalls could never attract a man like Freddie Prinze Jr.! Certainly not.
Yes, we know she looks darling in her original version, just play along for a little while. Prinze's in-universe little sister, Mac, helps Cook get dolled up with a cute dress, a new hairstyle, and red lipstick. Sometimes you just have to branch out a little bit to get noticed.
Becoming the Princess
Anne Hathaway got her start by appearing on-screen as Mia Thermopolis, a frizzy-haired, unfashionable high schooler. Of course, then she finds out she's actually Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo, the Princess of Genovia. We all know that a princess can't have such an uncouth appearance, so stylist, Paolo, came to the rescue.
Turns out all Anne Hathaway needs to look really, really pretty is a pair of contacts and a hair straightener. Because she's, you know, Anne Hathaway. She went on to charm Batman, what hope do the rest of us have?
Found to be Fashionable
Anne Hathaway is no stranger to the movie makeover. The film “The Devil Wears Prada” is all about fashion designers, so it's no surprise that Hathaway's “frumpy” character Andy needs to go from oversized sweaters to chic jackets and glittering jewelry. That's all it takes. She is, of course, wearing Chanel boots.
Unlike most examples on this list, this big change is an earlier part of the movie, and it's part of the movie's storyline as a whole, not a reward or a way to win the guy.
Yes, Even Guys Can Have Makeovers
“Kingsmans: The Secret Service” isn't exactly what you would call a rom-com. It's more of a spy action movie based on a comic book. Still, there's space for a makeover between the set pieces. Young English crook Gary “Eggsy” Unwin is trying to survive on the streets until he's recruited by Harry Hart to join Kingsman, a private “intelligence service.”
Eggsy of course has to look the part if he's going to infiltrate the high parts of society, so he goes from lantern-jawed chav on the streets of London to lantern-jawed super-spy, complete with slicked-back hair and a natty suit. The clothes really do make the man.
One of the Original Makeovers
The movie makeover isn't a brand new invention – you'll find one in the classic film “My Fair Lady,” which came out in 1964, based on a 1956 Broadway musical. It takes Eliza Doolittle from a dirty, greasy working-class girl and turns her into a woman that could pass in the highest levels of society – that's what the entire film is about, actually.
However, this makeover did what so many others have, and proved itself somewhat unnecessary, since the person being made over is none other than AUDREY HEPBURN, who is regularly remembered as one of the most beautiful, elegant, and iconic actresses ever.
Going Gaga Over the New Look
If you saw the main character of “A Star is Born,” you might not have realized she's one of the most famous pop stars working today. Lady Gaga is no slouch in the looks department, but she's more well-known for her odd outfits than her actual facial features. Still, her initial appearance, as a brunette who loves to wear leather, doesn't really track with how we know her.
It's only after she meets Jackson Maine, played by Bradley Cooper, that she starts to look a little bit closer to real life. Fashionable clothes, bright red hair, and a new musical style morph her into the film's pop star.
Makeover as Control
It's common in real life for people to switch up their style dramatically, and it's for a good reason – it gives them some kind of control over their own lives. Parents, jobs, high school...it doesn't leave them much time for themselves. This is sort of what Cher, played by Alicia Silverstone, does with Tai, another student.
Tai is a ditzy student that doesn't put much thought into her look, so Cher brightens her up with a new hairstyle and clothing – but it's more for Cher's benefit, as she's trying to retain control of the people around her. Tai becomes, for a little while, more popular than Cher thanks to it.
Going Full Plastic
The Lindsay Lohan that appears in “Mean Girls” is a far cry from unattractive no matter how you spin it, but she does tend to wear unflattering outfits. After she joins the Alpha squad called the plastics, however, she pushes the boundaries of what a school will allow.
Slinky dresses, fetching chokers, and perfectly-curled hair turns her into one of the queen bees of the school. As the movie points out, that's not exactly a good thing. The movie makes it clear that looking good means nothing if you don't have the attitude to match.
Not the Normal Kind of Makeover
In “Mrs. Doubtfire,” we get to watch the late, great Robin Williams go from a dad that doesn't get to see his kids anymore to a Scottish nanny by the name of Euphegenia Doubtfire. No, it's certainly not the regular kind of makeover, but you have to admit it's a good one.
The makeup, outfit, hair, and other additions that Williams took on for this famous comedy ended up winning an Oscar for Best Makeup in 1994. if you didn't know it was Robin Williams under all that stuff, you would never guess it wasn't a real Scottish woman.
Ready for First Class
“Titanic” is a monstrous movie, both when it comes to length, and when it comes to the box office. People flocked to the film, and we bet a good number were because of Leonardo DiCaprio's big role as Jack. It launched his career, and that's thanks in part to the makeover he receives partway through the movie.
At first, confined to the lower decks, Jack puts on a tux (which fits him perfectly, thankfully) and slicks his hair back in order to pass as a first-class passenger. And of course, he does, he's Leonardo DiCaprio. There's a reason he was picked for the role.
Grease Leaves Everyone a Little Dirtier
At the beginning of the legendary musical “Grease,” Olivia Newton-John is an innocent and fresh-faced high-school student by the name of Sandy. She looks perfectly in place at sock hops or soda parlors. By the end of the film, she's got the curled hair of the seventies, plenty of leather, and the makeup to turn her into a bad girl that could draw the eye of John Travolta's Danny Zuko.
While the movie's message to completely change yourself for your crush might not fly so high these days, it's still the kind of flick that a lot of people consider 'comfort' watching.
From Drab to Fab
Having Sandra Bullock be the person you makeover feels kind of like it's cheating. From “The Net” to this movie,” Miss Congeniality,” Bullock is impossible to put down when it comes to her style. Still, this movie tries everything it can to make her appear like she isn't the obvious beauty queen she is. FBI gear isn't the most fetching even if it is functional.
There's also the part about her personality, which isn't bad so much as rough and tough and ready to take down the bad guys. She still manages to accomplish that, but she's able to do it while wearing fashionable high heels.
“Shrek” has been called one of the biggest animated movies of the 2000s, and it's hard to argue. Cameron Diaz provides the voice and actions for Fiona, the princess of the tale, but it isn't long before we learn her curse turns her into an ogre, just like Shrek.
Sure, giving a character a makeover in an animated movie isn't the toughest thing in the world, but this is a little more than a new outfit and some lip gloss. She changed into an entirely different being! Still attractive in her own way, of course, thanks to the bigger eyes and more natural-looking features.
Beautiful Inside and Out
As a working-by-the-hour girl with a heart of gold, Vivian from “Pretty Woman” was more than just her job title. Of course, being played by the famously beautiful Julia Roberts will make that easy. She goes from a woman of the night to right at home in an evening gown thanks to Richard Gere's help and his friendship.
Very little is changed about Vivian's look – it was really just the clothes she was wearing and the way she styled her hair (both of which were, we'd like to point out, way better than what a regular streetwalker would be able to achieve). Hollywood is still Hollywood.
Leaning into the Bad Reputation
Emma Stone made a name for herself as a high school student with a scarlet letter in “Easy A.” During the movie, rumors spread about her character, Olive, as a...well, a trollop. Guys start asking her to say she slept with them in order to prove they had finally checked that box – so to speak – and it starts to work for her.
She starts wearing more provocative clothes, letting her hair down, and riding the popularity (and monetary) high. Of course, things start going south in a hurry, so Olive has to repair her reputation and un-makeover back to how she was at the start.
Make Me into a Man
One thing you might not know about a lot of classic teen rom-coms is they tend to come from a classic background. “She's the Man,” is pretty much a modern retelling of the Shakespeare play “Twelfth Night.” Lots of Will's plays have been reworked for the era, and this one is an easy one.
The main character, Viola, wants to play soccer, and for some reason has to pretend to be a boy. That's where are the drama starts, but the actress, Amanda Bynes, manages to make a pretty convincing guy, as long as you're only looking at her face. Short hair and no makeup go a long way.
Sharpening her Claws
During most Batman movies, the only people getting a makeover are Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson. Not so in “Batman Returns,” which also stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle. If you have any comic knowledge, you'll know that Kyle is Catwoman, but she begins this superhero flick as a mousy, haggard secretary.
After a brush with death, she reinvents herself as Catwoman, a sultry temptress that has guys drooling over her leather look. Of course, she's still Michelle Pfeiffer the whole time. Even the makeup she was wearing can only do so much, but the change is still quite noticeable.
Get to Work
In the movie “Working Girl,” Melanie Griffith – playing the main character Tess – has to drop her hairstyle and freshen up if she wants to start climbing the ladder at her new workplace. She also has the goal of catching the eye of Harrison Ford, just like the rest of us, even now.
Looking the part is a big piece of making sure your job goes smoothly, though you might not have to get the power suit as Tess did. If you for some reason still have a mullet in this day and age, we would recommend maybe trimming that bad boy down.
The Most Contentious Makeover Ever
Allison, played by Ally Sheedy, is another important part in "The Breakfast Club". Her dark goth looks and odd actions endeared her to many, which makes the makeover she receives from fellow detention Claire (Ringwald) something of a contentious moment.
Many find her original look more attractive, and the fact that she got the makeover to attract a guy isn't a favorite element this long after the movie has come out. Some guys just like the dark look.
The Original Rags to Riches
When it comes to movie makeovers, many might not first think of “Cinderella,” but it still fits. Cindy is getting all gussied up to go to the ball and get away from her dreary life for a little while, but her evil stepsisters step in to make sure she'll never be allowed inside the castle walls.
With a swish of her magic wand, a beautiful blue ball gown appears to take the place of the torn rags that Cinderella had been wearing. The scene is iconic for its simple, beautiful effects, and Walt Disney even called it his favorite piece of animation in all his work.
Ready to Fight the Huns
While the Disney animated movie “Mulan” has more than one makeover, there's one that is most important. After the Huns invade and the army is conscripted, Mulan wipes off her makeup, chops off her hair, and dons her father's armor to take his place with the other soldiers. What follows is a movie about inner strength, inner beauty, and some of the best music in a Disney film.
Just as the song goes, the army made a man out of her, even if she ends up realizing hiding who she really is simply doesn't work out, whether it's as a perfect Chinese wife or a brusque male soldier.
The First Avenger Changes
Steve Rogers was a weak little spit of a kid, and despite how much he wanted to do his part to fight evil, the army just couldn't accept him. Enter a super soldier serum, and the change is eye-popping.
He emerges from the special science chamber jacked up and quite a bit taller, and not even Hayley Atwell, who plays Peggy Carter, could resist. The shot where she reaches out to caress Steve's pecs was not scripted – Atwell couldn't help herself.
Losing the Pink
Elle Woods is an attractive lawyer-in-training in “Legally Blonde,” but a lot of her classmates refuse to take her seriously thanks to the way she dresses. In an attempt to fit in with the other people at her law school, she decides to ditch the pink and try to look a little more serious.
While this works out in the short run, Elle eventually realizes she doesn't have to hide who she is, even if she is going to be someone as serious as a lawyer. She brings back her original style for the big courtroom scene at the end, complete with fetching glasses.
Money Can Buy Makeovers
In “Can't Buy Me Love,” Patrick Dempsey's Ronald Miller was about to drop a grand on a new telescope. However, he sees famous classmate Cindy Mancini in distress and finds out the cost of replacing a ruined suede dress – exactly a thousand dollars. The deal: he buys the dress, and she pretends to be his girlfriend.
Of course, she couldn't possibly be seen with a guy that would buy a telescope, so she gives him a cool makeover. There's plenty more to the story, but at least Ronald is accepted by the cool kids when he walks in.
Time to Update that Old Style
Brendon Fraser's character was pretty out of date in “Encino Man,” since he had been buried in ice for millions of years and all. All that Pauly Shore and Sean Astin needed to get this guy up to fashion speed was some fresh threads and toothpaste, but it's still quite the change. Plus, we get to watch a caveman see himself in the mirror for the first time.
While this movie might be responsible for Pauly Shore's career as a whole, it's still a fine flick, and the makeover was sorely needed. Can't have him going into high school wearing last era's fashions.
A Visible Cost
While “Love Don't Cost a Thing” is mostly just a remake of the eighties film “Can't Buy Me Love,” it manages to do things its own way for a good percentage of the runtime. Just like in the original, there's a makeover sequence for the guy, and we actually get to see a price tag of: 237.79.
Part of the makeover is, for some reason, teaching the main guy Alvin how to properly rub his hands together in a classy way. Well, style is all about confidence and personality when you get right down to it. It might have been the most important part of the scene.
Making Yourself Better
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” has Cal, played by Steve Carrell, desperately needing some attention. His wife is leaving him, and he let himself go in a big way. In steps, Jacob, played by Ryan Gosling, decides to help Cal get over his funk and get back to wooing the ladies. That means a makeover.
This one is less about new clothes and more about getting Cal to realize he still has something to offer after life deals him a bad hand. Button-downs, ties, sunglasses, sweaters, cologne, jeans, and a new haircut help Cal shake off those depressing old thoughts and help him get back to living life.
A Makeover for Silence
In“Jawbreaker”, Fern, played by Judy Greer, discovers a group of popular girls have just killed their friend. In exchange for not telling anyone, the clique accepts Fern into their group and gives her a sweet makeover. Still, the makeover is a wild and successful one, and Fern goes from a nerdy nobody to one of the high school's queen bees.
The dark comedy of the plot puts a spotlight on the idea that giving someone a makeover is enough to get rid of all the problems – it clearly isn't, and some new clothes and a haircut aren't going to change the real problems.
The Magic Makeover
When some magic dust hits Jenna Rink in “13 Going on 30,” she immediately changes into the thirty-year-old Jennifer Garner. The “teen” knows this is the perfect opportunity to do something she's always wanted – get dressed up like an adult.
She goes into her closet to find the right clothes and help her look a little more grown-up. The scene has a few weird moments, such as when she talks to the other young girl in the elevator and mentions her new womanly attributes, but it's still fun.
Something for the Diary
When it comes to style points, “Bridget Jones's Diary” is a big winner during the makeover scene. The titular Jones is excited about a potential date with her...boss? They seem to like each other, so she asks her friends for their best advice, following it to the letter to present the best version of herself.
There's nothing wrong with going the extra mile when it comes to your personal appearance – we all have to do it every once in a while, just to break out of a rut. It's a classic montage that has plenty of little character moments, and humor, and keeps the story moving without dragging.
I'm Here to Help
In “The House Bunny” the nerdy, awkward ladies of Zeta Alpha Zeta need all the help they can get. However, there's a little more to it than that – no new pledges, which means not enough money to keep their house.
We're not sure what would happen then, but it's important enough for the girls to enlist a former Playboy Bunny (played by Anna Faris) to help them look the part of a real college sorority. It's drab to fab for these co-eds.
Midway through “Dumb and Dumber,” Harry and Lloyd find out Lloyd's love interest is hosting a gala, and they decide to get prepped in a spoof of a makeover montage. This includes using a power tool to trim down Jim Carrey's hideous toenails.
They pick up matching blue and orange tuxedos that have ruffles galore, and then they hit the big event in a style that most certainly gets them noticed. Sword fighting with plastic canes isn't something that most people will get up to while dressed to the nines, but these two aren't most people.
A Freaky Look
You know the story: “Freaky Friday” has an overworked mom switch bodies with her rocky daughter, and both of them have to come to terms with the switch. The mom, played by Jamie Lee Curtis channeling Lindsay Lohan's character after the switch, decides to update from the ancient power suits to something a little more with it.
She cuts her hair short and gives it some spikes, throws on a colorful velvet dress, and adds some new high-heeled and tall boots. Despite the mom, Tess, having her daughter's head in her brain at that point, it still does wonders for her confidence.
Made to Look Good
While maids don't exactly dress in frilly black-and-white dresses anymore, you'd be hard-pressed to say their actual looks are anything exciting. They're made for work, sometimes dirty work, and fancy looks just don't fit. That's the problem Jennifer Lopez ran into during “Maid in Manhattan,” who falls in love with a wealthy guest at her workplace and tries to dress fancy to make it seem like she isn't who she really is.
She comes up with some breathtaking looks, though the charade doesn't last the entire movie. By the end, she looks the part in a strapless gown and plenty of glittering jewelry.
Time for the Big Shopping Spree
In “Last Holiday,” frugal penny-pincher Georgia Byrd finds out that she's suffering from a terminal illness, and she tries to make the best of it. She has plenty of cash saved up, and she decides to shell out for some fancy clothes and a big makeover. Her demand at the boutique where this happens is for them to “make me international.”
She turns from a wallflower to the belle of the ball, and it's all about giving Georgia something great to send her off – even if she eventually figures out that her terminal illness isn't terminal.
A Controlled Change
Everyone in the suburb of Stepford, Connecticut looks perfect. Manicured nails, big smiles, big hair, and bigger heels. You probably know the twist of “Stepford Wives,” but that doesn't mean this makeover is anything less than head-turning.
Sure, Joanna (played by Nicole Kidman) is just trying to fit in and make sure nobody realizes she hasn't been turned into a femme-bot yet, but she makes it look so good it's easy to forget this is less a new style and more a survival tactic. She's supposed to look like a big plastic Barbie doll, but Kidman can look good in almost anything.
Looking this Good is Evil
The recent movie “Cruella” is both unnecessary and not that good, but at least it presents us with one of the most dramatic movie makeovers ever. Estella (Emma Stone) wants to make it in the fashion world, and she eventually turns into the fashion-obsessed, vengeful, and murderous Cruella.
High fashion doesn't even begin to explain it, with each and every scene showing off amazing style. It's incredibly dramatic, and since the movie is all about the fashion industry, it makes perfect sense that the character would go all-out to look as eye-catching as possible. Each outfit is better than the next.
Going the Extra Mile
When it comes to the distance that some will go to make themselves into a new man or woman, nothing beats the action from “200 Pounds Beauty.” This South-Korean drama has a “ghost singer,” who pre-records her lines for movies and the like. In order to change her crush's mind about her, Hanna (played by Kim Ah-Joong) undergoes some drastic changes.
She gets the requisite makeup and clothing changes, but she also has some plastic surgery and works to lose all her extra weight – which was substantial – over an entire year. By the end, she's an entirely different person. But is it worth it?
Spray on the Good Looks
There's lots of stuff that goes on in “Hairspray,” but one particular moment stands out as a unique entry in the annals of makeover history. The number “Welcome to the '60s” allowed the main character's reclusive mother (played by, of all people, John Travolta) a chance to look her best.
She was stuck at home for a while – ten years – but an important trip to the store allowed her to change things up and spread her wings using, as the title might suggest a brand-new hairstyle. This is more about just looking good, though. It's about shedding insecurities and getting a new outlook on life.
The Horror of St. Trinian's
“St. Trinian's” isn't your normal teen movie. It has a British schoolgirl, Annabelle, played by Talulah Riley, joining a school that is full of juvenile delinquents with...unique senses of style. The makeover from this movie starts like Annabelle is about to be bullied, though it seems more like a torture scene.
Instead, all the different cliques make her over, one by one, taking snapshots, arranging her hair, doing her makeup, and more until they finally land on something that Annabelle likes. It's a cute little moment that plays with the viewer's expectations and allows Annabelle to bond with her fellow classmates.
Warming up to Him
“Warm Bodies” took the zombie movie as its popularity was waning and mixed it with romance, having a living girl fall for an undead boy, and vice versa. But she can't be spending the zombie apocalypse with someone who isn't alive! It's time for a makeover.
A hot shower, plenty of makeup, and the tongue-in-cheek “Pretty Woman” soundtrack come together to help make the zombie hunk “R” look a little more lifelike. There's even a classic reaction shot of his love interest seeing him after all the work is done.
A Twisted Self Makeover
“Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” is a terrible, terrible movie, but even it manages to have a makeover scene worth talking about. In it, Harley Quinn's more famous beau, the Joker, dumps her like a dirty diaper. She decides to make the best of it, and reinvents herself, ditching the look she had in “Suicide Squad,” and finding a few new outfits that make her feel a little more herself.
This makeover is self-inflicted, and it allows Harley to create herself the way she wants to be, instead of the way Joker wants her to be. The movie still blows sparkling chunks, though.
It's Time for a Change
In “Moonstruck,” Cher is dating one guy but starts to fall for his brother, played by Nicolas Cage. While she begins the film looking just like the grieving widow she is, partway through the movie she decides to upgrade – both her choice of man and her personal style.
She enters a hairdresser with messy, frazzled curls that seem to be going prematurely gray, and she exits with the big beautiful hair of the eighties. Her wardrobe gets a hefty upgrade, and she's ready to make a statement. The movie won Cher, Olympia Dukakis (who plays Cher's mother), and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley Academy Awards for their hard work.
A Much-Needed Overhaul
At the beginning of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Toula works at her family's restaurant, has no romantic prospects, and dresses in lumpy brown cardigans and lumpy brown cardigans only. She needed to get something new in her life, so she decided to make a couple of big changes.
She starts going to college, she switches jobs, and then she meets the charming and attractive Ian – who, to the horror of her family, isn't Greek! She also decides to ditch the cardigans for far more flattering outfits, she gets to work making her hair look better, and ditches her granny glasses for a pair of contacts.
Trying to Look Younger
In “Never Been Kissed” Drew Barrymore plays Josie Geller, a twenty-five-year-old journalist asked to go undercover at a high school. Legal? We aren't sure. But it gives Geller an opportunity to have a second crack at high school – the first time, she was a nerdy, antisocial loser with bad personal hygiene.
She at first goes overboard, obviously trying too hard, but then she settles down into something a little more natural. The makeover scene is over the top as Geller puts on a ridiculous outfit to make her stand out, but it doesn't last that long.
A Reluctant Look
Katniss Everdeen is skilled with a bow and ready to do what it takes to win the Hunger Games, and that means going through a makeover to appear glamorous for the waiting crowd. The capital has plenty of amazing dresses to help her make a statement, even if it's clear that she's more comfortable in the clothes that she normally wears.
No one can deny that she makes the best of it, even as she fights against the oppressive government and wins the hearts of the people from the surrounding districts. Her beautiful red dress earns her the moniker “girl on fire,” and she makes the most of it.
Nothing Dirty Here
Nobody puts Baby in a corner, but they can certainly put her in the salon chair for a much-needed makeover. In order to fill in for Penny at the dance, Baby has to put some makeup on and a low-neckline dress in order to become the star that everybody knows she can be.
Penny is on-hand to give her all the help she needs after the two finally mend fences, but Baby's sister Lisa is there to bring in the big guns with some iridescent lipstick. Sure, the movie might be called “Dirty Dancing,” but Baby cleans up in the best way.
We're Business Ladies, We Swear
The titular characters of “Romy and Michele's High School Reunion” were a couple of loser slackers during their time at high school, but the reunion gives them a chance to prove their fellow students wrong about them. By pretending to be a successful businesswoman.
In order to do this, they have to hit the salons and the shops for the outfits that successful businesswomen would wear. This works like a charm, sort of, but not everything goes according to plan. They also try to say that they invented post-its.
Bringing Home the Bacon
This makeover was for an incredibly practical reason – Sue Ellen and her younger siblings have a babysitter for the summer that doesn't last long on this plane of existence, and they try to get by without any adult supervision. Sue Ellen quickly discovers she has to start earning some money.
She gets all dolled up and manages to land a job with a fashion house, something she figured she would be great at. As Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead shows, she has plenty of fashion up her voluminous sleeves. It's not that easy, of course, but this makeover is all fun when it happens.
Makeovers have their specific place – you're taking a new character that needs an upgrade, and you're letting him or her find a new lease on life. The movie or show doesn't often use a classic character, but we do get that in “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.” Daphne, the fashionista of the mystery machine crew, makes up geeky Velma for a hot date.
It's not a complete recreation, but Velma still gets her time in the spotlight with a fresh outfit, some makeup, and a more modern hairstyle. The best part is, it's still clearly Velma – Daph has just accentuated her best features.