Edward Scissorhands (1990) – PG-13, Fantasy

Director: Tim Burton      

Writers: Tim Burton, Caroline Thompson

Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall

Worth a watch.

Although its premise is simple, this film is difficult to categorize the traditional way.  The general consensus appears to be that it’s fantasy, and while it is permeated with a tone reminiscent of that genre, it lacks many of its common accoutrements.  It’s set in what’s more or less modern times (around mid- to late-twentieth century, not present day), not the medieval era or anything like it, there aren’t any other “races” like elves or vampires, and there is no magic system – only a benign “inventor,” the instigator of Edward’s origin story, which feels like a blend of science fiction and dark fairy tale (similar to that of Frankenstein’s monster, but it has enough differences to earn its distinction).  Despite the morbid aesthetic that is now associated with Tim Burton’s projects, the story is not creepy—with some definite exceptions.  They aren’t the ones you might expect.

The elegant, melancholy theme music at the opening is fitting for the story that follows, easy to associate with winter’s first snowfall, if you don’t live in a place where snow falls on a regular basis and makes a grand nuisance of itself.  As the camera pans through a window, a little girl asks her grandmother where the snow comes from.  So the story uses the framing device of the grandmother’s explanation, but you can forget about this for most of the movie, because the events are told from an omniscient point of view (not limited to the information that the grandmother would have) and they’re not edited for the little girl’s benefit (this film is rated PG-13, and the girl looks about six at best).

Once upon a time, there was a man with scissors for hands.  He was created by an inventor who lived in the old mansion on the hill, but before he could finish the man and give him real hands, the inventor died.  This left the poor, unfinished man all alone.

Cut to bright-lit, colorful suburbia and twittering songbirds.  The houses in this movie look absurd and fake, which one could argue was the intention.  Still, they look very fake.  Whether this is symbolic or just cheap is a matter of individual perspective and taste.  If you don’t mind it, you might enjoy this movie.  Otherwise… well, you’re going to be seeing it a lot.

Next we see the sunny, soft-spoken Avon lady going door-to-door and making stiff gestures to her face as she describes the products she’s selling.  She does her best and goes through the whole marketing spiel with no results.  This woman is hilarious, and yet her determination to continue an exercise in futility is a bit pitiful.

Around the same time, the movie introduces the skanky housewife, who’s portrayed with more subtlety  than she would be today, though it’s unclear whether the handyman she’s hitting on is aware of and trying to ignore her advances or whether he’s plain oblivious.  If you think the label of skank is unfair here, just you wait.  Also, she’s rude to the innocent little Avon lady, which for all ethical intents and purposes amounts to the same thing as kicking a puppy.

After getting turned down by everyone else that she’s talked to, the Avon lady decides it’s worth a shot to try the dark old mansion on the hill, which looks like a cartoonish evil villain’s lair.  To say this thing looks out of place would be an understatement.  How did it even get there?  You’d think all those dead trees and the lack of a manicured front lawn would be breaking some rule or another in a neighborhood like this.

Closer to the mansion, the Avon lady discovers various topiary sculptures, because when you’re living alone with scissors for hands, you have to find some way of spending your time.  She’s clever enough to realize that the house must be occupied in order to have a garden this well-maintained, but she ignores the spooky vibe and walks right in when no one answers the door.  If this were a horror movie, she’d be dead.

“Hello?  Avon calling!” she chimes, peering around inside the dusty, gothic mansion that makes her bright pink outfit look ridiculous in contrast.  It’s extreme and over-the-top, but it still makes for authentic amusement.  After delving father and father into the house, she finds its lonely occupant, and the movie almost tries to be scary for a moment as it reveals the man with scissors for hands.  If you know the film’s tagline you know this is just pretense.  “The story of an uncommonly gentle man,” indeed.

On an unrelated note, Johnny Depp as Edward looks like he’s sucking on a lemon.

While speaking to Edward, the Avon lady uses the same superfluous Vanna White gestures as she did while pitching cosmetics.  The poor thing must think this is normal.  Bless her heart, she’s decided to bring Edward home with her in her yellow car.

Somebody spots her and soon the news is traveling down the gossip grapevine that Peg (that’s the Avon lady’s name, by the way) has a mysterious visitor.  “Soon” meaning “before she even reaches her house”.  Nobody can keep their noses out of other people’s business around here.

Peg and Edward have an awkward yet pleasant dynamic.  He’s naïve about everything, never having been out of the mansion before that we’re shown, and although Peg seems to realize this somewhat, she underestimates the extent of it.  Even so, she keeps up her cheery disposition despite his taciturn staring.  It’s quaint and amusing.  Much of the comedy in the film is like this—earnest floundering in ordinary interaction under unordinary circumstances.

Inside Peg’s house, as Edward looks at the family photos, his facial expression is about the same as usual, but the soft singing of a female choir indicates how he feels about Peg’s teenage daughter, Kim.  Monster man likes the pretty girl.  Clearly, this will end well.

She’s “camping in the mountains,” so he won’t be meeting her for a while.  Peg gives him some normal clothes to put on so that he can cover up whatever you’d call that goth/punk jumpsuit he has on, and then she goes off to answer the phone.  Edward is left to put the clothes on by himself.

Have you ever tried putting on clothes without using your fingers?

After he discovers the mirror and the waterbed (that goes about as well as you’d expect), he attempts donning the apparel (that goes… better than you’d expect, but it doesn’t go well).  Peg comes back to help him, and as she’s repairing the shirt, she mentions that she knows a doctor who might be able to help him.  Then she decides she’ll try to conceal the scars on his face with Avon products.

Introductions to Peg’s husband and son are skipped altogether, which is a shame because they must have had interesting reactions to the fact that she’d invited such a strange man to stay with them with no prior warning.  This movie isn’t about scaring people, though.  Most characters meet Edward and take it in stride like it’s not that strange at all.  A possible reason for this is that the neighborhood is so dull, any unusual surprise is welcome, although you’d think it would be the other way around with people worshiping conformity and overreacting to any minor difference.

So we cut to Edward having dinner with the family and struggling to use his utensils.  Peg stresses over her family’s behavior and tries to ensure they don’t make Edward feel uncomfortable, which is nice of her and, come to think of it, seems backwards.  Shouldn’t she still be trying to convince them that it’s okay to let Mr. Scissorhands stay in their house?  Regardless, Edward is not bothered by their comments and seems more preoccupied with trying to pick up a fork.  He’s having a tough time of it.  He should just kebab some carrots and potatoes onto his blades and eat them off that way.

After dinner, Peg tucks him into bed.  The bed in question is again the waterbed.

The next day, Edward begins cutting up the bushes and making shapes.  Then Esmerelda, the local Catholic extremist, walks into their backyard (who does that?) and starts ranting about how Edward is from Hell (that’s not cool either).  The religious beliefs of the other characters in the movie are never indicated.  It would be nice if there were a reasonable character to counterbalance this portrayal.  It wouldn’t have to be a Catholic or even a Christian, just some kind of religious person who isn’t a loon, but that would be too much to ask from this movie.

As would a little racial diversity.  At least the lone black man gets portrayed as a decent guy.

With Joyce the skank as their leader, Peg’s neighbors show up on her doorstep in a horde and the following exchange unfolds.

Joyce:  Shame on you keeping your unusual guest all to yourself.  We think that’s mighty selfish of you.

Peg:  No, it’s—  Things have just been a little hectic around here.

Joyce:  That’s so sweet of you to want to correct the situation.  What time does the barbeque begin?

Peg:  …Barbeque?

Joyce:  You intend to show your guest hospitality by introducing him to your friends, don’t you?

There is not a nice word to describe this woman.  For the character, though, the actress’ facial expressions are perfect.  She makes herself very hateable.  Time for a flashback.  Okay, it’s over now.

What, you want to know what happened?  Nothing much.  There was an inventor.  He had some inventions.  He thought about making another one.  That’s it.  Holding a heart-shaped Christmas cookie up to a machine and looking pensive is a nice touch, but that’s it.  Oh, and the inventor is Vincent Price.

At the barbeque, someone else mentions to Edward there’s a doctor who might be able to help him.  That makes the second time now.  Although Edward can’t shake hands with anyone he meets, these people are strangely friendly, making causal jokes about his hands and acting as though it’s, if not normal, at least accepted.  Even Skankpants Joyce finds him interesting, but that’s not a good thing.  Sexual predator alert.

Time for another flashback.  Vincent Price reads to Edward from a book and then another book.  That’s it.

Oh look, Kim’s home early from the camping trip.  Her friends drop her off at her house and—  Huh.  Now that’s an audacious car they’ve got.  Whose idea was it to put flames on the large purple van intended to be driven by teenagers?

So Kim comes home in the middle of the night to discover a strange man sleeping in her bed.  This goes about as well as you’d expect.  Kim screaming and crying to her mother as Edward hangs his head and waddles out of the room has got to be one of the best parts of the film.

Peg’s husband, Bill, sets up another bed for Edward in the basement (a futon this time, not a waterbed) and begins pouring him a drink while making some odd comments about teenage girls.  For one thing, he does not seem to attribute her reaction to the fact that she came home in the middle of the night and saw a corpse-like stranger with scissorhands lying in wait under the covers, but instead, he chalks it up to her being a crazy teenage girl.  No, really.  How do people develop such irrational chauvinism?  For another thing, the way he talks about girls is disconcerting considering he’s the father of one.  The creepiest line of dialogue in this movie has nothing to do with Edward: it’s Kim’s father describing female puberty.

Bill is nice enough to provide a straw so that Edward can drink from his glass, and then he lies about what he’s serving him, calling it lemonade.  It’s not lemonade.  Edward sips it down and then looks like he’s been shot.  Or strangled.  Peg brings Kim down to the basement to give Edward a proper introduction, but he’s still shaken by the alcohol.  It doesn’t make for a good first impression.

When Joyce sees Edward again, she offers him a fresh cool glass of lemonade and he vomits.

Kim brings over a friend and her boyfriend Jim for dinner that night.  As Edward is slicing the meat, the conversation turns to Jim’s parents and the new loot they’ve recently purchased, including a VCR (forgive them for being excited; it’s an old movie).  Jim is disheartened that they don’t allow him access to these things, nor will they buy him an old car.  Keep that in mind.

Kevin (that’s Peg’s son) takes Edward to show-and-tell and the kids at school are impressed.  On the other hand, Kim and her friends think Edward and his topiaries (which are now everywhere) are creepy.  She’s embarrassed of him and resents him for staying with her family.  It makes awkward moments for the both of them.  Why won’t she give the poor guy a chance?  Because she’s a cheerleader.  That’s why.

After Edward graduates from being the neighborhood gardener to giving haircuts to dogs, Joyce suggests that he style her own hair as well.  Edward obliges, and Joyce enjoys it very much.  Very much.  Forget Edward; this woman is the creepiest character in the movie.

So everyone (amendment: everyone in this neighborhood who’s a housewife) gets janky new haircuts courtesy of Edward.  Even Peg gets a new style, even though her hair is rather short as it is.  Returning the favor, she’s still trying to figure out the right makeup combination to make him look less like a corpse.

As you might have noticed, there’s no plot for a while.  It’s just various scenes in the life of Edward the misfit.  If you think he’s endearing, you’ll still enjoy this part of the movie, but either way it is a slow patch.

Another random scene to keep in mind: when Kim forgets her key and realizes she’s locked out of the house, and when Edward happens to return to the house at the same time (also without a key), he demonstrates his ability to pick a lock.  See where this is going?

We’ll come around to that.  In the meantime, Edward gets interviewed on daytime television.  No, really.  He even has his hair combed.  A third person suggests to him that there’s a doctor who might be able to help him.  “We’ll get that name after the show,” says the host.  That doesn’t happen.

Another audience member wants to know if he has his eye on a special girl.  He stares at the camera with a look of longing as soft music plays, and Kim happens to be watching the show live at this particular moment.  Time for lots of close-ups.  You’d think someone would notice how long he was taking with this question and prod him to answer, seeing as there’s not supposed to be this much dead air on live television.

Edward leans forward to the microphone and touches it with his hands, shocking himself.  Jim thinks this is hilarious because he’s a jerk (“I’d give my left nut to see that again”…?  Really?), but we can tell Kim’s beginning to soften her heart toward Edward because she’s concerned he got hurt.  Good for her.  She ought to be worried about Jim, though.  He might castrate himself in the name of sadism.

There’s been talk of Edward opening a beauty salon, and he’s recovered by the next scene where he goes to scope out a prospective location with Joyce the sexual predator.  She takes him into the back room and… this turns out about as well as you’d expect, but at least he escapes.  First, clarification: Edward has been portrayed thus far as a very naïve individual with no more than a childlike understanding of the world, probably with some developmental problems from lack of socialization before now, and he’s hardly of a mental state to give legal consent.  Joyce is behaving like a child molester.  She even screams, “Edward, you come back here; you can’t do that!” as he’s getting away, trying to manipulate his gullibility and limited knowledge about the world.

So there’s evil in this pastel world.  Alright, that’s realistic.  However, there is a disturbing problem.  Edward finds his family in a nearby restaurant and the following exchange occurs.

Bill:  So, Edward, you have a productive day?

Edward:  Miss Monroe showed me where the salon’s going to be.  (to Peg)  You could have a cosmetics counter.

Peg:  Oh, wouldn’t that be great?

Bill:  Great.

Edward:  And then she showed me the back room where she took all of her clothes off.

He does not understand what happened, but the others do, as evidenced by the looks on their faces.  And that’s the extent of their reaction.  Looks on their faces.  They don’t bring charges against Joyce for sexual assault, they don’t kick up a fuss, they don’t do anything; they just look uncomfortable and ignore it.  Correction: the women look uncomfortable, the little boy snickers, and Bill keeps on talking like nothing happened.

So Peg takes Edward to the bank, intending to get a loan for the new business, but Edward doesn’t even have a social security number.  That’s okay, Edward.  That bank looks even more fake than the houses.  Also who put the camera on the ground?

Cut to Kim and Jim, walking through in the neighborhood.  Remember Jim mentioning all that loot his father keeps away from him?

Kim:  But that’s breaking and entering!

Jim:  Look, my parents have insurance up the rear, okay?  It’ll cost them a little hassle—that’s about it.  A week and my dad will have a new and better everything!

Kim:  We can’t.

Jim:  Look, there’s a guy who’ll give us cash for this stuff.

Kim:  Jim, I don’t want to.

Jim:  What, you don’t want us to have our own van like Denny’s where we can be by ourselves whenever we like?  Huh?  With a mattress in the back?

Kim:  Well why can’t you just do it?

Jim:  Because my father keeps the **** room locked.  We need Edward to get us in.

Kim:  Well can’t you take the key like when he’s sleeping or something?

Jim:  Come on, Kim.  Razorblades would do anything for you.

Jim also claims that he’s “wracked his brain” and that there isn’t any other way for him to acquire a car.  For no specified reason, getting a job and earning the money to pay for it himself is out of the question.  Also it’s surprising how effective that bribe is—all are women in this movie this desperate?  We’ve got Joyce the skank, Peg who married idiot Bill, and Kim who never seems to consider the idea of just breaking up with her jerk jock boyfriend.  She’s unhappy with what Jim wants to do, but she’s too passive to stop him and she’s willing to tolerate criminal behavior in order to get into his pants.

So… why is this movie so popular with chicks again?

Jim brings all of his friends plus Edward to his house in the dead of night, and after stopping him from trimming the bushes, he has Edward pick the lock and get them into the house.  Then, when Edward picks a second lock to get into the room with the loot, an alarm goes off and he gets bolted inside, startling the others.  They ditch him and run.  Kim doesn’t want to leave Edward behind, so Jim grabs her and runs with her hefted over his shoulder.  Yet she’s still willing to be his girlfriend.  In the van as they’re escaping, she screams at him and the driver to turn around, and Jim insists this is what they have to do.  Yet she’s still willing to be his girlfriend.

The police arrive and tell Edward to come out of the house with his hands raised.  Then they tell him to lower his weapons.  Tension ensues, as they don’t know about Edward’s condition.  This movie isn’t about creating tension, though—all it takes is a few words from some housewives claiming they know him, and all of the sudden the police aren’t wary of him anymore.  Oh, you know him, you say?  Poof.  Trepidation vanishes.  Their logic is that because the man with knives for fingers happens to be acquainted with some women in the neighborhood, you can go right up to him and cuff him in perfect certainty that you won’t get stabbed.  They don’t even hesitate.

When Bill and Peg find out, Peg think’s it’s her fault because (a) she expressed mild envy toward Jim’s family and (b) she insisted they’d get money for the salon somehow.  It suggests something about her character that she’d blame herself, but it’s not too unreasonable.  The random thing is her additional comment, “**** those TV programs,” in her soft-spoken little voice.  It’s amusing.

In case you were worried that some sticky legal plot was developing, nope, Edward gets out of trouble due to his limited mental capacity (which means the movie itself agrees that he’s incapable of giving legal consent).  The charges are dropped.  The cop seems like a nice guy.  He’s the aforementioned lone black man in this movie, and he gets a portrayal as a reasonable authority figure.  Kudos.

Cut to the gossip circle.

Joyce:   All along I felt in my gut there was something wrong with him.

Marge:  It could have been my house.

Helen:  It could have been any of our houses, but—

Esmeralda:  I warned you, didn’t I?  I saw the sign of Satan on him.  You didn’t heed my warning, but now you will because now you can see it too.

Peg and Edward have no comment for the reporters.  The women of the neighborhood are more wary of Edward now, unwilling to get new haircuts from him and even reluctant to attend Peg’s upcoming Christmas party.  Kim comes home and expresses her sympathy to Edward.

Kim:  I tried to make Jim go back, but you can’t make Jim do anything.

Is that a challenge?

Kim:  It must have been awful when they told you whose house it was.

Edward:  I knew it was Jim’s house.

Kim:  You… you did?

Edward:  Yes.

Kim:  Well then why’d you do it?

Edward:  Because you asked me to.

Edward is Jim’s opposite, or in literary terms, his foil.  This doesn’t mean he’d make a good boyfriend, though.  While Jim is stubborn and controlling, Edward is naïve and childlike and doesn’t have any more of a backbone than—

Did he just rip the curtains?  Edward, it is distressing that the girl you desire is a stupid slut and is walking over to talk to Jim, but it’s not okay to destroy other people’s property.

Kim is angry at her boyfriend (she still hasn’t broken up with him) and wants him to tell the truth about the burglary.  He retorts that she could tell the truth herself; she was there.  He has a good point.  He’s a scumbag and all, but Kim can’t take the moral high ground until she’s willing to make sacrifices.  It’s not enough to get her off the hook that it wasn’t her idea or that she didn’t want to do it.  She did do it, and she still hasn’t done anything to rectify the situation.  If Kim had come forward with the truth, maybe this movie would have a different ending.

Meanwhile, Edward is still damaging others’ property.  Cut to the family dinner as Bill is lecturing him about his behavior.

Bill:  Okay, a little ethics.  You’re walking down the street.  You find a suitcase full of money.  There’s nobody around.  No human person is in evidence.  What do you do?  A) You keep the money.  B) You use it for your gifts for your friends and loved ones.  C) You give it to the poor.  D) You turn it in to the police.

Edward picks choice B.  That’s the kind of guy he is: kind and well-meaning but lacking in basic worldly experience.  Also it’s mentioned that Kim isn’t seeing Jim tonight.  Did she break up with him yet?  Not clear.  At least she’s trying to grow a spine.

Peg:  Oh Edward, it does seem that that’s what you should do, but it’s not.

Kevin:  You dope.  Everybody knows you’re supposed to give it to the police.

Bill:  Good thinking, Kevin.

Kim:  Well think about it, you guys.  I mean, that’s the nicer thing to do.  That’s what I would do.

Bill:  We’re not trying to confuse him.  We’re trying to make things a little bit easier for him.  So let’s cut the comedy for a little while, alright?

Kim:  I am being serious, Dad.  It’s a much nicer thing to do.

It’s evident that Kim and Edward are meant to represent the better point of view, according to the filmmakers.  That’s inconsiderate.  Does nobody care about the poor sap who lost his cash?  Sure, it seems like a stupid thing to do, but we don’t know the full story.  Don’t blame the victim here.

Cut to various housewives gossiping over the phone, whereby it’s revealed Joyce has spread around the story that Edward attempted to sexually assault her.  That’s the kind of move you’d expect from this woman.  Again, though, the values dissonance comes in the form of the other characters, who believe her lies but are far too complacent about it.  They think it’s bad, but they haven’t called the police or rushed to her aid or anything.  It’s just a thing that happened.  This neighborhood is creepy.

As Peg is preparing for the Christmas party, Kim steps outside to see Edward working on an ice sculpture, which litters the air with little flakes of ice as if it’s snowing.  Kim smiles and twirls around it with lots of soft choir music.

Then things take a weird turn.  Jim pops out of nowhere and yells, “Hey!”  Then Edward swings his arm (he felt a spontaneous urge to impersonate a windmill?) and cuts Kim by accident.  Now Jim has a flimsy excuse to threaten to kill him.  Peg takes Kim inside so that she can deal with the minor scratch (read: the women are brushed aside so that the plot can get down to business).  Jim bullies Edward into leaving.  Coming back out of the house, furious Kim tells Jim to go away, and it’s unclear whether she has broken up with him already or whether that’s what she’s doing just now in this scene (what took you so long?).

Striding back to his mansion in anger, Edward rips off his clothes (it’s okay, folks; he still has that jumpsuit underneath) and damages more property, which is unacceptable.  He even slashes a tire.  No, really.  He slashes a tire.  Is this your idea of an uncommonly gentle man?  What does that say about the rest of us?

Listen, Ed.  There’s no need to get hysterical.  The girl likes you more than Jim now, she might even give you a chance, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by acting like this.  Now the nice policeman has to come after you again.

Edward heads back home after Peg and Bill have left to look for him.  He and Kim ask each other if they’re okay and make a decent attempt at chemistry and a sad scene, but the really sad thing in this movie is that Joyce never gets prosecuted.

Time for a flashback.  Vincent Price is presenting Edward with a pair of hands, but dies right before he can attach them.  The hands fall to the ground and shatter.  Are prosthetics really that fragile?

Anyway, due to his limited facial expressions, it’s unclear whether Edward is sadder about the death of his father figure or the broken hands.

Cut to Jim and his friend drinking in the back of the van.

Denny:  I feel like I’m gonna pass out or puke or something.

Jim:  Later.  First take me to her house.

Denny:  Aw, come one, Jim.  Don’t make me drive.

Jim:  Just do it!

Jim, drinking and driving is unacceptable.   Denny, that goes for you too.

As Jim’s weak-willed lackey obeys orders and starts driving (that is to say, swerving the car while also making some forward progress) to Kim’s house, Kevin begins walking home.  Edward looks out the window and anticipates an accident about to happen.  So… he throws himself in front of the car to knock him out of the way and save him.  It’s a laughable scene when you think about the logistics of it.

Edward asks Kevin if he’s okay, at the same time nicking his face by accident.  That’s plausible.  Then for no specified reason he keeps nicking his face and can’t manage to stop or get up or just stop moving his fingers.  That’s less plausible.  When the neighbors see this contrived situation, they come to the reasonable conclusion that Edward is attacking the boy and is therefore dangerous.  Everyone is scared, Jim attacks Edward, Edward defends himself—

Take a moment here to think about how some better judgment calls or eliminating some misunderstandings could have been useful in convincing the neighborhood to side with Edward instead of Jim.

Edward runs away from the police and flees to his mansion.  Even though the policeman does not have much information on the situation (either that, or he knows about Edward slashing tires and hurting a couple of people, which shouldn’t put him in the man’s favor) he fires a few shots into the air and tells everyone “it’s all over,” refusing to tell the inquiring crowd what happened because he wants to let Edward escape to safety.  He just… knows by instinct that Edward is a nice guy who does not deserve to be punished for any of those property crimes.

Hold on, what does that woman have on her head?  Is…  Is that her hair?  Her hair is shaped like a goose neck sticking up from her forehead.  Uh.  Moving on.

Kim chases after Edward into the dusty mansion.  When they find each other, they begin to talk, but then Jim comes in with a—  Hold on, where did he get a gun?  His father locks up the CD player, but he has access to a gun?

Time for the arbitrary fight scene.  Kim shows some possible character development in that she actually makes herself useful here: as Jim is pummeling Edward, she comes up behind him and hits him over the head with a big piece of wood.  This is an improvement from most setups like this, where the two guys fight while the love interest chick sits on the sidelines wringing her hands.  At one point they have Jim pinned to the ground, Kim holding Edward’s hand to Jim’s throat, and she threatens to kill him.  Then he brushes the blades aside, slaps her, and pushes her off (read: the film demotes her back to useless weakling status).  It’s Edward who goes through with the threat, stabbing Jim in the gut and pushing him out a window to his death.  There’s a Star Trek joke in here somewhere.

With the hypotenuse of the love triangle dispatched, Kim kisses Edward and says “I love you,” and all that jazz, and then they never see each other again.  No, really.  Also Kim tells everyone that Edward is dead too so that they won’t go looking for him.  Then she grows old and tells this story to her little granddaughter.  She still refuses to see him again.

Kim:  I’m an old woman now.  I’d rather he remember me the way I was.

That’s rather vain of you.  Don’t you think the poor guy would appreciate a friendly visit?

So the reason it snows here, she claims, is because Edward is making ice sculptures.  Unrealistic, but it makes for a good fable.

This sentimental film is enjoyable save for its creepiest aspect, its portrayal of sexual assault as a mild inconvenience.  Although the plot is sparse, the conflict feels more substantial than in The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the romance isn’t too forced, though the portrayal of women is hardly charitable.  Kim’s struggle for personal strength doesn’t come to a satisfying or definitive conclusion—she cast off Jim only after he threatened to kill someone.  Despite these shortcomings to keep in mind, this bittersweet story earns its merits through its ability to move its viewers.

Or maybe that’s just Danny Elfman’s ability to compose some great music.


2 responses to “Edward Scissorhands (1990) – PG-13, Fantasy

    • Thank you very much, ma’am. For a character who is touted as gentle and tends to be reluctant to do any harm, his violent episodes are not only startling but also outright out of character and unnecessary. Then again, that was the point, wasn’t it?

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