How does the Makeup Help to Define the Character Essay

Watching a movie we pay attention to the most important aspects of composition of shot – makeup and costumes the actors wear. These two aspects help us to create overall look on a movie and a special mood. Sometimes makeup can change an actor’s appearance totally – from handsome blond man to fat an ugly dark-haired man.


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To achieve this “transformation” visagistes resort to use of different types of makeup, wigs, false teeth or artificial parts of face (to make bigger nose or lips). To show specific features about character on stage (theatre) or on screen (movie industry) professionals use makeup (for example, to show the change of a character from a human to a strange creature or from ugly to pretty).

Nowadays, watching a movie you can notice that characters are portrayed fully and in details. For example, a well-known movie “Dorian Gray” (director Oliver Parker, 2009) tells to the audience the story of the lovely young man –Dorian Gray – who comes to London, as now he is rich; he has got a huge inheritance from his grandfather.

A painter Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin) offers to paint Dorian for preserving his beauty forever. Becoming obsessed with maintaining his beauty, Gray offers his soul and wishes the portrait to weather the winds of time while he stays forever young. Albeit, after Gray’s wickednesses the painting starts to reveal his inner ugliness to others.

From the very beginning of the movie, Dorian (Ben Barnes) is young, handsome and has a lot of zing. On arriving home, after 25 years, his appearance did not changed as his beauty stayed immutable. He still is fine and lovely dark-haired young man with pretty smile. We can see the natural beauty of the actor (Ben Barnes), as he is shooting almost without any makeup.

However, other characters are getting older and their age can be noticeable. For example, Lady Victoria Wotton (Emilia Fox), an extremely beautiful and cute wife of Lord Henry Wotton. After 25 years Sybil has wrinkles, grey hair and eyes full of wisdom of old woman.

Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Gray, who was leading Dorian astray, also got old. Now he looks as grandfather with a long grey beard, wrinkled forehead and manners of an old man. Basil Hallward’s beauty also met winds of time. When Gray meets him, Basil looks older, with features of mature man on his face.


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Dorian’s appearance is not changing till the final scene of the movie, when Lord Henry reveals the secret of Cray’s eternal beauty – the painting, but now not with young sweet and handsome, but with old, ugly and frightening Dorian – and sets fire to the painting.

When portrait is “dying” Dorian is turning to that awful old man with wrinkles, old skin and sordid wounds on face; and the Dorian’s portrait becomes a painting of that young and good-looking man.

All in all, the importance of makeup in the movie industry is great. It is obvious that 30-year-old actor or actress cannot have appearance of a 70-year-old person, that is why visagistes use cosmetics, wigs and other methods to create specific features of characters, which will help the audience to define the character. Here comes the reason and significance of using makeup in movies.