Dramatic makeovers have been a staple of the silver screen since the dawn of cinema. In the eponymous 1950 Walt Disney film, the transformation of grimy Cinderella into a beautiful princess inspired the dreams of millions of girls around the world.
Years later, in 1964, audiences delighted in seeing My Fair Lady’s pauper Eliza Doolittle become the darling of high society. Looking at the history of cinematic makeovers, we’ve noticed that glasses and contact lenses played a key part in many of them.
Here’s a list of our favourite cinematic transformations.
She’s All That (1999)
She’s all that is a cult classic, which catapulted Freddy Prinze Junior to fame, and paved the way for his lofty success in the Scooby-Doo remake. The film is very loosely based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, and contains the holy trinity of all teen flicks: the classic misunderstood-jock-meets-nerd story, the irreverent bet the jock partakes in – and, of course, the obstacle of the token mean girl.
The heroine, Laney, is a stereotypical geek, complete with thick horn rimmed glasses and overalls; contact lenses and a short dress aid her radical transformation to Prom Queen candidate. As a result of the makeover, and keeping with the tradition of romantic teenage comedies, the misunderstood jock wins the girl.
In the light of Steve Jobs’s death, Ashton Kutcher played the world-famous Apple CEO in the biopic Jobs. Although his performance was universally panned by critics, Kutcher’s resemblance with Steve Jobs was truly uncanny, thanks to the signature framless specs the actor donned to play his part.
In fact, he liked the glasses so much, that he took to wearing them in his day to day life. His depiction shows how a simple, everyday accessory such as a pair of glasses can make a person instantly iconic.
The Princess Diaries (2001)
The plot of The Princess Diaries recounts an ordinary girl’s discovery that she is a princess of a remote, wealthy principality, in a modern-day rendition of the story thousands of girls still fantasise about.
A young Anne Hathaway plays Mia, who suddenly finds out that she is the heir to the throne of fictional country Geneva, ruled by her royal grandmother. As she settles into her new life and social standing, Mia undergoes a makeover worthy of Cinderella herself: her frizzy hair is coiffed and styled to perfection, and contact lenses replace her thick black glasses frame.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
In this offbeat comedy about a social outcast campaigning for class president, Jon Heder undergoes a complete makeover to play the socially awkward student Napoleon Dynamite, protagonist of a hilarious performance of “dad dancing” for his student body.
To complete his nerdy look, Heder dons a thick pair of horn rimmed glasses and grows his hair into a curly mop, making Napoleon Dynamite one of the most iconic geeks in cinema history.
Cinematic transformations are proof of how big a difference eye wear can make. Sometimes, your contact lenses are all you need to create a stunning new look, and a pair of glasses is all it takes to transform a simple film character into an instant icon.