We’ve watched countless scenes of movie makeovers. By this point, we all know how it goes. The characters, usually women, are the ones who are treated as outcasts by their peers and contemporaries. They are outcasts for a variety of reasons. They aren’t very social and don’t have a charismatic bone in their bodies. They don’t adhere to the latest trends in clothing, food, cars, and gadgets. But, most of all, they don’t look appealing aesthetically.
As the viewers of such movies, we become attached to the characters. We believe that they’re just down on their luck. They need something that would lead to a positive change in their lives. Thus, the movie makeover grew as a trend. We also learned a couple of things about beauty and character development through the trope that goes beyond physical attributes. Here are three lessons.
Some Issues Can’t be Resolved Overnight
The problem with many movie makeover scenes is that some characters transform very fast. They just did simple things such as change their clothes. They just sat down in front of a mirror for hair and makeup. This is exactly what happened with Andi (played by Anne Hathaway) in The Devil Wears Prada. She grew fed up with the way people treated her in the fashion magazine that she’s working at. But when she paid a visit to her friend in the wardrobe department, she left with a bunch of clothes that transformed her into someone who wore Prada stilettos with ease and confidence.
But we know that some problems can’t just be solved by clothing and makeup. Some people also deal with acne and misaligned teeth. Some are women in need of hair loss treatment. And some need to transform their habits and mannerisms. This is what happened in Hathaway’s other movie, The Princess Diaries. As a princess in training, Mia also needed to change the way she moved to show elegance. And that required a rigorous amount of practice that can’t be done overnight.
“Getting the Guy” isn’t the Only Goal
More often than not, the movie makeover trope goes the same way. A girl is encouraged by her friends that she needs a night off and to feel good about herself. So she gets dolled up. And that catches the attention of a boy. Usually, this boy is the most popular guy in school. He’s the one every girl wants, and every guy wants to be. This is what happens in A Cinderella Story.
Sam (played by Hillary Duff) and Austin (played by Chad Michael Murray) are pen pals. They planned to meet with each other at their high school’s Halloween ball. Sam needed a confidence boost before she met her pen pal for the first time. So her friends helped her get a makeover. But we learned that her goal is so much more than dressing up for Austin. She’s also doing it to feel good about herself. She did it to get a break from her stress with family and work.
Makeovers are About Transforming from the Inside
We’ve already established that the movie makeover trope leads to the physical transformation of the character. The characters change their clothes, fix their hair, and smile more. Because of this change, they shift from the one who’s always looked down upon to someone everyone admires. This is what happened with Brittany Murphy’s character, Tai, in Clueless.
The makeover scene in Clueless is one of the memorable ones. We watched Cher (Alicia Silverstone’s character), and her friend spend an afternoon transforming Tai. They scrapped the grunge, devil-may-care style and turned it into a high-class princess style. But, as we watch the whole movie, we see that the makeover is not bound by that one scene with Tai.
In truth, the fundamental makeover in the movie with Cher. And that makeover is all about her character development. She grew from someone who’s idealistic, a bit shallow, and careless. She became a person who cares a lot about other people.
Many people criticize the movie makeover trope. They say that it sets the standards for physical beauty. And these standards are often unreasonable, unattainable, and unrealistic. And they say that the trope suggests the need for a physical transformation in order to get ahead in life.
Through the trope, we watched these characters turn into the most beautiful people in any room. They garnered the attention of others. The people who used to tease them mercilessly now looked on with envy and a hint of admiration.
But as we continued watching them, we also learned that the idea of a makeover is so much more than a physical transformation.