The movie montage has come a long way since it originated in Soviet movie-making back in the 1920s. Once Hollywood caught wind of this ingenious way to cram a lot of time into just a mere few minutes, they added a cheesy soundtrack and boom! The modern montage was born. The 1980s is arguably the decade of the montage, although it was the late 70s that can proudly boast the beginning of our obsession with training themed montages thanks to Mr. Balboa and his rise to greatness. Watching a Rocky montage is akin to injecting pure motivation and determination directly into your blood stream. That is a proven, medical fact.
Other fan-favourite montage themes include those of the ‘falling in love’ variety (think Aladdin and Jasmine or Baby and Johnny getting their Dirty Dancing on through sex-me stares and just-a-second-too-long embraces). And let us not forget that which gave nerdy teens everywhere hope: The Makeover Montage.
Although it’s hard to pinpoint the first ever, it is safe to say that the 90s was the decade that saw the makeover montage shine. Impressionable teens eagerly awaited those glorious two minutes when the nerd/tough girl with issues/obvious hottie simply lacking fashion awareness/beautiful maid from the wrong side of town (you get the drift) is flung into a whirlwind of makeup, hair teasing and tailoring to emerge on the other side as a beautiful swan just oozing newfound confidence and ice-coolness. If it could happen to this seemingly clueless individual then there was hope for us all, right? And we wonder why we suffer from body image issues…
But what fun memories they hold and what excitement they conjure when you fall on your favourite makeover moment while mindlessly channel flipping. And on that note, it’s time to take a glance over some of our favourites from our youth and beyond.
She’s All That (1999)
OK… so as far as montages go this one is lacking from the bedroom secrets that make this transformation (in the loosest sense of the word) possible. But the moment Rachael Leigh Cook appears on the stairs to the backing track “Kiss Me,” we forget that in fact all she really did was cut her hair, take off her glasses and put a tight dress on, and instead we are transported to that magical world where hot guys really do date nerds.
The Princess Diaries (2001)
Ah, now here is a traditional makeover montage. Complete with all the necessities including a detailed before shot with Anne Hathaway as Princess Mia looking terribly untamed. Frizzy hair and untouched eyebrows remind us that if we ever hope to be a princess, we had better get to plucking.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Entering the closet at a major fashion magazine might well be on the list of most amazing things to do for fashion hungry men and women everywhere. To actually be required to wear items from said closet at the request of Stanley Tucci… well, you can see why Anne Hathaway is on our list again. Designer threads make for an even less attainable and more dream worthy montage.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Not a conventional makeover montage but one which gives extra bang for your buck as the audience gets to explore an array of possible looks for our burgeoning hero. And of course we got to experience the wide range of female stereotypes that Mr. Williams was able to pull off and have a good laugh along the way.
Miss Congeniality (2000)
I’m not sure how likely it is that you could use your daughter’s ‘Dress Up Sally’ website to clothe digital images of grown men, but it makes for an amusing montage as the detective squad gets a little too distracted with looking for their undercover Beauty Queen. Then, boom! There she is in all her glory. Ms. Sandra Bullock shocks the males with a banging body which apparently no one had noticed before. Fast forward half an hour or so to a slow-mo scene which sees said body decked out in a tighter-than-tight dress with coiffed hair and mascara and all is well again in the world of the makeover.
Cher’s main thrill in life is a makeover,” and back in ’95 one of my main thrills was watching this movie over and over and this makeover montage starring Britanny Murphy never failed to please. Hair-washing, wardrobe experimentation, and the big reveal all set to the perfect 90s song: “Supermodel.” Nailed it.
Crazy, Stupid Love (2011)
This is a modern, male perspective of the makeover montage which also keeps the attention of the ladies thanks to Ryan Gosling oozing sex appeal all over the set. Of course there are other essential points it covers, but I mainly included it because that gorgeous, young man is a delight to watch. Don’t judge me.
Pretty Woman (1990)
It would be a makeover montage massacre if this classic did not appear on the list. Julia Roberts is a dream in this rags-to-riches tale with plenty of hearty laughs, designer gowns, and excellent one-liners. Armed with a hot, rich guy’s credit card our heroin is drowned in high-end labels and fed takeout pizza all before being whisked off to the opera in a dress that can now be considered iconic.