Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Denise Di Novi and Tim Burton
Written by Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson
Cast: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price, Alan Arkin,Robert Oliveri, Conchata Ferrell,Caroline Aaron,Dick Anthony Williams and O-Lan Jones.
A scissor-handed man is bought in to live with a suburban family after living alone in years of seclusion. But, his inability to fit in and the world’s inability to understand him leads to problems.
Fresh off the success of Beetlejuice, Tim Burton would deliver another classic that would be indicative of his visual style and flair. Edward Scissorhands was the product of a childhood fantasy coming to life. After, the success of Edward Scissorhands, Tim Burton’s reputation as a master of a certain kind of visual style would go undisputed.
Edward Scissorhands is the misunderstood tortured artist. His plight is more or less the heart of the tale. Edward is little more than a gothic-inspired looking android yet that’s an only surface level observation. Although he does acts like a wounded animal usually, Edward has an undeniable humanity because of his drive to connect with those around and expressing himself through his artwork. Johnny Depp’s performance really shines as despite saying a few words, he’s able to convey the full range of the character. Depp is largely limited to a deadpan expression, yet due to his emotive eyes and body language, facial expressions and dialogue are unnecessary. In spite of his capacity to inflict collateral damage at any moment, you’ll never doubt for a second, Edward’s innocence or vulnerability.
The setting evokes the surreal and the overly mundane then mergers them. The picturesque suburb is larger than life as the inhabitants that live in the suburbs. The uneasy normality of the entire suburb is a bit unsettling. The suburb is basically a character in itself acts that like a big foil to the outlandish Edward. Ironically, to us, both are just probably weird. Edward, to them I suppose, he’s another degree of weirdness above them. It’s Edward’s presence livens up the place. Which is best reflected in the animal bush sculptures that Edward creates. Blocky and unformed bushes are transformed into lively artwork. Almost out of place, this is the dank gothic mansion that was Edward’s home that just sits at near the suburb. The entire setting like the story itself is a visual metaphor of the blatantly peculiar meeting the peculiarly normal.
Edward Scissorhands is essentially an allegory for the price of nonconformity. Edward’s uniqueness initially makes him a minor celebrity. The entire neighborhood is attracted and fascinated by him. The Boggs family does try seriously to make him one of their own and that does go relatively well. The awkwardness that arises from Edward trying to fit in and the cumbersome situations that happen because of his scissor hands are a great source of hilarity. The comedy is a kind of throwback to the silent era with more of an emphasis on visual gags. The visual gags are inventive without being over the top. The winsome ambiance turns out to be a momentary thing as people are ready to brand Edward as a public nuisance on the slightest provocation or misunderstanding. There are people that genuinely try to understand and care for him like the police officer or the Boggs family are too few in number. For most of the world, he’s just a social pariah because of his inability to fit in. Just as Edward is able to connect with his special someone, he’s forced to sever himself from the world. Since Edward is unable to conform to society, Edward must isolate himself for his own sake and the world around him.
Edward Scissorhands is possibly the purest expression of Tim Burton’s style and thematic interest. It is a bittersweet fairy tale about the toils of being a misunderstood outsider in a society that has little tolerance for ”otherness”.