Makeover movies that go beyond a skin-deep “before” and “after”
It was in the wee hours of the morning. I was on my way downstairs to get a glass of water when I heard something playing from our living room. “It is with passion, courage of conviction and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct,” the woman in the audio clip said. “You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”
Anyone who loves Reese Witherspoon will tell you flat out that it’s a snippet of Elle Woods giving her Harvard graduation speech. I walked into the living room to see my brother—BRS textbooks and reviewers strewn on the floor—watching Legally Blonde on his laptop. “What?” he asked, giving me a little sass. “I’m taking a break and I need inspiration.” He was reviewing for the medical board exams at the time and nearing the finish line. He would take the exams the next weekend.
Movies have the power to uplift, disturb, provoke and, as in my brother’s case, motivate. Each one of us has a version of reel-inspires-reality story. A moment where we turn to a movie to feel hopeful again or feel better about impending change.
A lot of us particularly revel in the makeover movie genre. It doesn’t even matter if it’s the stuff of pure fiction. It doesn’t have to veer away from the predictable feel good movie formula either. All the same, we love the geeky girl who is given a makeover, outshines the mean girl and gets the guy in the end. Success-amid-trials storylines win us over. We love rooting for the underdog. We tune in because we want to believe that, against all odds, we can dust ourselves off and steer ourselves to a better direction. And that we, indeed, have the capacity to do so.
Let these movies show you the way.
Eat Pray Love (2010)
Finding Your Feet (2018)
Never Been Kissed (1999)
Yes Man (2008)
The Women (2008)
17 Again (2009)
The Five-Year Engagement (2012)
Mean Girls (2004)
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Whether you’re down and out looking for ways to start over, right a wrong or get out of a rut, get on team ‘never say never.' There may be no such thing as wiping the slate clean in real life, but a do-over is definitely possible.
Art Alexandra Lara