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Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
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You Need Serious Hair! 

Kyle back in the house to address a very serious topic: Hair. Caution: Joy hairdo spoilers ahead.

The extent to which certain moments of David O. Russell’s Joy are deliberately soap opera-y is an open question. The movie’s latter scenes, in particular, draw on clichéd images of toughness: pleather jacket, sunglasses, and, of course, newly shorned hair. It seems that nothing says a woman is serious quite like taking matters, i.e., her hair, into her own hands.

I’ll happily debate the merits of having a narrative arc reveal a woman to be a badass—since most already are in my book—but I’d rather hear what some of your favorite DIY hair-cutting scenes are. Here are three of the most dramatic that leap to my mind after the jump...


Savvy businesswoman Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) saves money on an expensive makeover by styling herself.



Kate the Great did what had to be done as Jo in George Cukor’s 1933 Little Women.


The Mirror Cracked: Cutting her own locks made Barbra Streisand’s Yentl (1983) so distressed the mirror cracked to suggest her new duality!



Demi Moore, then Hollywood's highest paid actress, showed in G.I. Jane (1997) that she was willing to play by men’s rules.


What's your favorite DIY hair makeover as character arc in the movies?  

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References (7)

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Reader Comments (13)

Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass

December 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Empire Records. Shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior!

December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJames

"Amazing Amy" in Gone Girl. (She is so much happier now that she's dead.)

And, OK, this is not a movie, but Katy Perry in her Part of Me music video always makes me LOL. It's so-o-o stereotypically conceived, which makes me appreciate Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin all the more. Her character didn't have to cut her locks to prove her mettle...and she made it through basic training, long tresses and all!

December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks G.I. is underrated? Demi Moore was unfairly pilloried for that movie, IMO.

December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I'll tell you one of the worst: Alison Pill in "The Newsroom." That entire storyline was ill-advised.

December 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercash

Mareko -- YES on Gone Girl :) I love all 4 of these moments actually yes even JOY. I think it's fully aware of and embracing the haircut trope cliche.

December 29, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Never thought I'd be saying this, but nothing beats Britney (when it comes to public buzz-cutting).

December 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Jaye Davidson in The Crying Game getting a haircut to
deceive potential assassins from identifying him
as a woman.

December 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks G.I. is underrated? Demi Moore was unfairly pilloried for that movie, IMO.

I like the movie since seeing it. But Moore was at the end of her Hollywood reign when the movie was released. Hence the dual backlash against her and the movie. The movie plays well on repeat
watches. But Moore continues to be polarizing. Which means to be an unlikable woman in the public who have to be very talented which Moore is not.

December 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

What about "Moonstruck"? Cher didn't have much hair cut off, but she washed that grey out of her hair, and left looking fabulous (normal).
I think Franke Potente cut and dyed her hair in "The Bourne Identity" - she certainly dyed her hair.
Meanwhile Matt Damon never changes his hair at all....

December 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Rosamund in Gone Girl & Cate in Heaven

December 30, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterre

cash -- Oh, yes!

Funny. G.I. Jane made me think of Anne Bancroft (I always end up thinking about Anne!!!) and her role in Point of No Return, the Nikita remake, where she gives fashion tips and a new haircut to Bridget Fonda.

December 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

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June 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hale

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