Hollywood has given these rough diamonds an exuberant polishing for our viewing pleasure.
CGI and big budget sets affect us only so much, it's making the bushy-eyebrowed, frizzy-haired, glasses-wearers see the error of their ways that really resonates.
We've selected 50 of cinema's best ugly duckling-to-beautiful swan moments, from '80s Working Girl Tess McGill's corporate remodelling, to widow-turned-fallen woman in post-war Italian drama Malena. Give your rating out of five by clicking on the stars next to each picture.
Any we missed? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter
Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features