Ranking 20 Movie Makeovers, From Lazy to Jaw-Dropping


Is there a better, cheesier Hollywood trope than the makeover montage? Comedies and rom-coms love to take a leading star and give them a splashy new look—sometimes when they desperately need it, other times when they seriously don’t. But no matter what the end result serves us, you can’t deny it’s highly entertaining to watch someone go from an “ugly duckling” (however the movie defines that) to a beautiful swan. But not all transformations are equal; some are well-done, others are lazy. So, Vogue is looking back on 20 iconic movie makeovers and rating them on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (good).

What constitutes a good movie makeover, you ask? For one, and this may seem obvious, but the “after” needs to be dramatically different. Give us some production value! Remember when they just took Rachael Leigh Cook’s glasses off in She’s All That? That earns it a low ranking in our eyes (hopefully the remake, He’s All That, starring Addison Rae, will feature a better makeover). When Halle Berry morphed from Patience Phillips into Catwoman in the 2004 flick, however? Her all-leather outfit was a far cry from the shy wardrobe worn by Phillips; in other words, it was a top-tier transformation. 

They also to have a clear impetus. A well-done makeover will see a character go through a dramatic physical change in order for the plot to move forward. For instance: When Gracie—a tough-as-nails FBI agent— poses undercover as a beauty pageant contestant in Miss Congeniality, she’s not only getting a makeover, but going undercover to get her job done and to solve the crime at hand. But a good movie makeover does not need to be particularly ethical, either. We’re basing our decisions purely on how enjoyable it is to watch, rather than how “good” it ends up being for the characters. In The Devil Wears Prada, Andy turns into a Chanel-clad fashionista not only to fit in with the Clackers, but to showcase how she loses herself and her identity in the process. These are makeovers with purpose, people! 

Knowing the parameters, it’s now time to sit back, scroll, and read on for our rankings.

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