“Edward Scissorhands” (1991) Review


A story of the strength of family, accepting differences as they are, and young love – Edward Scissorhands is a movie I will always go back to. It begins with Edward (Johnny Depp), the sympathetic product of a late inventor. He is considered unfinished, left only with deadly blades for hands. When an ambitious saleswoman named Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) makes her way up to the seemingly abandoned manor Edward resides in to sell her products, she quickly sees through to his quiet misery and decides he must come home to live with her family. After a first glance at Peg’s daughter Kim (Winona Ryder), Edward is infatuated; thus beginning an agonizingly complicated and slightly hazardous love story. Kim slowly but surely falls for his kindness, teaching him that maybe he doesn’t ruin everything he touches.

I do want to draw attention to where the film’s age shows, because it’s important to see how we’ve developed in our representation of various societal issues in entertainment. A scene that stood out to me as being ineffectively handled was when one of the residents of the gossip-ridden town Peg brings Edward to makes an unwelcome advance on him. Edward doesn’t fully comprehend the situation having been isolated for so long, which she takes advantage of, coercing him into doing things he doesn’t want to do. Luckily he escapes, but this act of sexual harassment and attempted assault is created purely as a comedic moment portraying Edward’s cluelessness. I can appreciate that at least her actions aren’t completely excused (though we are almost meant to sympathize with her towards the conclusion) – as that neighbor ends up revealing her true colors and becoming an additional antagonist within the story. But beyond the romantic narrative and dated nature of some of the scenes, this moving adventure holds much more: it’s a touching account of an outsider with an unconventional exterior and a warm heart, clumsily finding his way in a world he only wishes to be a “normal” and harmonious part of.

At its core this film is perfectly on brand for Tim Burton – the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack by Danny Elfman, engagingly composed frames brought together with hues representing each shift in time and tone, and a sweet tale of connections between the people you’d never expect.

Rating: 9/10