Jawbreaker Has the Best Beauty Looks of All Time, and I Refuse to Believe Otherwise
Major spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen the movie, but in that case, where have you been? Get thee to a streaming site and watch Jawbreaker immediately—it's so good. I'm not even completely doing it justice in this write-up.
Next to The Craft, Spice World, and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Jawbreaker is one of my favorite films of all time. With Rose McGowan, Julie Benz, Rebecca Gayheart, and Judy Greer in the leading roles as Courtney, Marcie, Julie, and Fern/Vylette, the movie was a perfect representation of every late '90s trend I tried desperately to wear, accompanied by dark humor and super flowery dialogue. If you aren't familiar, the plot is as follows: with the intent of surprising their friend Liz (played by Charlotte Ayanna) and treating her to breakfast on her 17th birthday, Courtney, Marcie, and Julie kidnap her as a prank and stuff her in the trunk of Courtney's car, not knowing Courtney had stuffed a Jawbreaker into her mouth. They arrive at the diner, pop the trunk, and find that Liz has choked on the candy and died. They go to school, attempting to be normal, and later on as they try to place Liz back into her bed at home, Fern finds them staging the murder scene. Hilarity, I suppose, ensues.
Everything about the film is so smart, and I love all of the attention to detail director Darren Stein paid to everything. For example, you'll see a lot of round shapes repeated within scenes and in the wardrobe as a nod to the Jawbreaker that led to her demise. He also intentionally cast actors well out of the high school age range as high schoolers, paying slight homage to Carrie and Grease, which happened for each of the aformentioned films. There's an entire monologue where the girls talk about wearing a nail polish called "Decay," which was a nod to the '90s-era Urban Decay lineup, and that iconic hallway strut? It has since launched a thousand imitations in its wake.
It's easy for me to wax poetic over this film, especially since I'll occasionally break it out to watch whenever the mood strikes me, and the vivid beauty looks have impacted me all the same—I adore Rose McGowan and dressed up as Courtney for Halloween in the 6th grade, and tried to find a replica of the pink lip gloss Marcie stays wearing, but more on that in a second. Like the fan girl I am, I've outlined a few memorable looks from the film below. As McGowan's character Courtney says in the opening scene, "Take a long, hard look in the mirror, girls. It's beauty time."
Julie's High Ponytail
"I wish I had friends that would do this for me!"
"Yeah, right! You'd have us killed."
"Brutally maimed, my dear."
It was a happier, simpler time at the beginning of the film—with Brett Ratner swinging by the set to pose with Julie and Marcie for a Polaroid I stalked director Darren Stein's Instagram to obtain. With the intent to take Liz out for breakfast in mind, Marcie's blonde bob was worn sleek and shiny, while Julie's long layers were pulled into a ponytail that sat high on her crown. Even in 2017, the look feels current.
"Liz is gone, Fern. Take her place. You know you want it."
Movie makeover montages are always the absolute best, and Fern Mayo gained one as a consolation prize for not telling on Courtney and the gang after discovering they had killed Liz. Throughout the film, Fern—who soon became known as Vylette—typically stuck to a pink color palette. Her long brown layers were then chopped and bleached, constantly holding Monroe-esque curls.
The New Trinity
"That's Courtney—she was the leader. She was like Satan in heels."
Courtney did this thing throughout the movie, usually in scenes where she was being her pure, bad self, where she would match her retro-inspired ensembles to her eyeshadow, and I was living for it. Here, a frosted purple coated her lids, and was topped off by mirror-like gloss, and curls stronger than her willpower to keep her dirty litte secret about Liz. I was also very much in love with every beauty look Marcie wore, and made it a mission for years to track down a metallic pink lipgloss just like the one she had throughout the film. Eventually, I came across MAC's since-discontinued Lipglass in Prrr, which seemed appropriate. Vylette, as usual, sticks to her rosy color scheme, though is still sort of getting the hang of this whole "resting bitch face" thing.
Julie's Outcast Look
"This is high school, Detective Cruz. What is a friend, anyway?"
Since being shunned from her original group, Julie's took on somewhat of a low-key appearance, which almost seemed to be ripped from the pages of a DeLiA*s catalog. Between that perfectly center-parted hairstyle, tinted shades, edgy nail polish probably by Urban Decay, and the brown-nude lipgloss, she was embodying every cool alternative rock '90s babe I desperately wanted to be.
How the Mighty Have Fallen
"First, you need to know something about them. The beautiful ones. The flawless four. You know them—they went to your school, too. They totally ruled."
A striking contrast from her high updo in the opening of the film, Julie's pony rests at the nape of her neck as she's cornered in the hallway by Marcie and Courtney. Still, she's living her best life alongside drama hottie Zack as she devises a way to take down Reagan High's resident troublemaker, who is still rocking coordinating eyeshadow with her metallic purple number. Marcie's tiny pony sits high on her head, where Julie's once was—perhaps taking her place in the ranks? I mean, I'm reading too far into this.
Courtney's Lolita Aesthetic
"I brought you something sweet."
Just before the police show up at her house to question her about Liz, Courtney has her man of the moment (and eventual prom date) Dean Sanders in her room. Clearly, role-play is totally her thing—don't hate the player—with her pigtails and shiny pink lip adding to the aesthetic.
Courtney's Interrogation Look
"She's so evil—and she's only in high school."
Perhaps in line with the definition of a textbook sociopath, Courtney could be quite charming and convincing, which she did as she put on her good girl act to frame an unknown man (who was actually Marilyn Manson doing a cameo) for Liz's death. Her structured curls were pulled back in a leopard-printed headband, with minimal eye makeup complementing her bold blush and red lip. The high-necked tee was also a pretty nice touch.
Also, shoutout to the iconic Pam Grier, a.k.a Detective Cruz, for that voluminous hair and nude lip combo. Combined with her all-black ensemble, she basically defines my current look I stay wearing everyday.
The Prom Scene
"I killed Liz. I killed the teen dream. Deal with it."
To be fair, just about every beauty look within that prom scene was amazing. Of course, Courtney's proved to be the most memorable—pre-tear streaks and Julie's Polaroid shot at the very end. The ornate updo with silver accessories suggests she was pretty much waiting for that prom queen title, considering they complement that crown perfectly, while her eyeshadow adhered to her overall frosty color scheme. The melon lip and pink blush added some nice contrast.