Pageant season is just winding down, with the recent conclusion of Miss Universe 2020. While the overall show was a bit of a let-down for most audiences, all things pageant-related have been a trending topic and coverage of the show has dominated the news the past few days.
For those who still have a hangover from the glitz and glamour, here are a few notable films set in the world of beauty pageants that you can watch right now on streaming sites or rent/buy from video-on-demand services online.
When it comes to pageant movies, the 2000 film Miss Congeniality starring Sandra Bullock as an FBI agent forced to go undercover as a contestant at the Miss United States beauty pageant, is one of the most iconic and entertaining.
When a pageant is under threat of a terrorist attack, Bullock goes undercover as a contestant to keep an eye on the competition. If you ever thought pageants were something to laugh at then this movie will prove you right… but not in the way you'd expect. The film also stars Benjamin Bratt, Michael Caine, Candice Bergen and William Shatner.
Since the film was released over two decades ago, it does have its share of outdated and politically incorrect standards by today’s modern sensibilities, but the ligthearted film is always fun to rewatch on its own. Just skip the sequel Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.
Miss Congeniality is currently streaming on Netflix.
Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine is a heartwarming road trip film that focuses on an eccentric family who decide to travel across the country when their daughter wants to participate in a beauty pageant, encountering epic problems along the way.
The Hoover family—a man (Greg Kinnear), his wife (Toni Collette), an uncle (Steve Carell), a brother (Paul Dano) and a grandfather (Alan Arkin)—all pile into a VW bus and head to California to support a daughter (Abigail Breslin) in her bid to win the Little Miss Sunshine Contest.
The film was an overwhelming box office success and nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and won two: Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin.
Little Miss Sunshine is available to rent or buy on YouTube Movies.
Misbehaviour is a 2020 British comedy-drama film released in the United Kingdom that focuses on an attempt by the Women’s Liberation Movement to disrupt the 1970 Miss World contest which took place in London, England. At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers.
The film stars Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley, who are intent on destroying this spectacle of women’s oppression that the pageant represents. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the inaugural Women's Liberation Movement invaded the stage and disrupted the live TV broadcast. And once the show resumed, the result caused a sensation.
However, they discover oppression can be the other side of opportunity, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Miss Grenada claiming a watershed moment for diversity as the first ever woman of color to win Miss World.
Misbehaviour is available to rent on Google Play movies.
Miss Juneteenth is a 2020 American drama film that follows a single mom and former teen beauty queen who enters her daughter into the local Miss Juneteenth pageant.
Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie) is a single mother in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. She is the former winner of the local Miss Juneteenth pageant which offers full scholarships to college. She enters her 15-year-old daughter, Kai (Alexis Chikaeze) in the same pageant despite her daughter's obvious lack of enthusiasm.
The film premiered at Sundance in January 2020 and has received critical acclaim including a Gotham Award for Best Actress for Nicole Beharie.
To prove a point about measuring up and fitting in, Willowdean Dickson, the plus-sized teenage daughter of an ex-beauty queen (played by Friends star Jennifer Aniston), signs up to enter a local pageant. Willowdean joins the Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town.
The sweetly uplifting coming-of-age film released in 2018 is based on the young adult novel of the same name by Julie Murphy and stars Danielle Macdonald as Willowdean "Dumplin'" Dickson, Jennifer Aniston as her mother, Rosie Dickson, and Odeya Rush as her best friend, Ellen Dryver.
Dumplin’ is currently streaming on Netflix.
Drop Dead Gorgeous
The 1999 black comedy mockumetary boasts of a star-studded cast, with Kirstie Alley, Denise Richards, Ellen Barkin, Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Amy Adams, and Allison Janney.
The film follows contestants in a beauty pageant called the Sarah Rose Cosmetics Mount Rose American Teen Princess Pageant, held in the small fictional town of Mount Rose, Minnesota, where various contestants die in suspicious ways. These pageant girls are so driven to succeed, that they’ll do anything to take home the crown.
Drop Dead Gorgeous is streaming on Hulu and is available to rent on Google Play Movies.
Die Beautiful is a Filipino film starring Paolo Ballesteros as a trans woman with beauty queen dreams, who dies after being crowned Binibining Gay Pilipinas. Her glamorous wake reveals the passionate and colorful life she led.
The film had its premiere at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival and was an official entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival.
Die Beautiful is currently streaming on Netflix.
(Banner image via Warner Bros.)