Review of Edward Scissorhands sci-fi romantic comedy movie

April 22, 2023 6:14 pm113 commentsViews: 409

Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder star in the 1990 sci-fi romantic comedy Edward Scissorhands in which an eccentric inventor (Vincent Price) creates a “son” using high-tech robotics with a sugar cookie heart. Eventually the young man’s hands – made of a variety of shears and scissors – are supposed to be replaced with lifelike synthetic hands when the experiment is finished. The inventor dies unexpectedly, however, and the young man (Depp) remains unfinished.

Review of Edward Scissorhands sci-fi romantic comedy movie

Edward Scissorhands, the Artist

Left alone in the inventor’s mansion, Edward uses his scissorhands to make collages from magazines and create beautiful topiaries and ice sculptures around the estate. Intended as the inventor’s masterpiece, Edward studied poetry and etiquette under his creator’s guidance, and therefore possesses an artist’s sensibility.

With pale white skin, dark sunken eyes, unruly black hair, and black leather clothing, the young man bears a striking resemblance to the film’s director Tim Burton. The story by Burton and Caroline Thompson is reportedly based on an early self-portrait by the director, who likely felt that his appearance, style, and talents were misunderstood by society “insiders.”

Edward Scissorhands, the Monster

One day, Peg (Dianne Wiest), a desperate Avon lady, visits the inventor’s mansion to sell her wares. When she meets Edward, she decides to improve his appearance through her makeup magic, and take him home with her to stay with the family. Despite using every concealing makeup in her product line, Peg cannot make Edward look normal like everyone else in her rigid middle-class suburban neighborhood, nor can she help him adequately adjust to the constraints of living in a small tract home with scissors as appendages.

In addition to his pale complexion that’s covered with accidental scars from his scissors, Edward also stands out because of his scissorhands, which inhibit his attempts to eat, drink, shake hands, and most importantly, touch. Although his intentions are good, Edward creates trouble for Peg and her family, including her teenaged daughter Kim (Winona Ryder), whom he falls in love with almost immediately. Kim’s thuggish boyfriend (Anthony Michael Hall), along with the other members of the community, conspire against Edward (partly out of fear and partly out of jealousy) and eventually against Peg’s family.

A Monstrous Creation of Art

Edward briefly ingratiates himself to others by styling hair, cutting lawns, grooming dogs, grilling shish kabobs, and creating origami art, but eventually he endures insults, attacks, and imprisonment in his quest to fit into the family and the town. Rejection turns the sweet-natured Edward into a monster of sorts.

This dark Gothic fairy tale has flashes of the monstrous (violence, fanaticism, rage) and of exquisite beauty (Edward’s art, the story of snow, music by Danny Elfman). It’s a touching tale of the artist as an outsider told with Burton’s usual flair for the humorously macabre.


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