Edward Scissorhands: A test of time

Edward Scissorhands, directed with Tim Burton’s broad imagination and otherworldly whimsy, manages to amaze and inspire in this Frankenstein tale about a man with scissors for hands. The titular character, Edward (Johnny Depp), is designed by an ambitious inventor who dies from a heart attack before giving his creation hands, leaving scissors instead. Edward is left to live alone in the inventor’s mansion on a hill until Avon salesperson Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) happens upon him and decides to take him home to her family. Edward soon charms the family and their neighbors with his incredible hedge- and hair-trimming skills. Amidst these interactions, Edward falls in love with the Boggs’ teenage daughter Kim (Winona Ryder), making enemies with her hot-headed boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall).

Edward approaches the world with innocence and an innate desire for love, even though most people—including Kim—are initially afraid of him. In this star-making role, Depp conveys powerful emotions via his animated facial expressions, and his very few spoken lines are uttered with a delicacy and softness that define Edward’s observant, sensitive nature.

Ryder’s Kim is an ethereal beauty who shows a deep compassion for the misunderstood Edward. Her best scene takes place towards the end when Edward is carving ice sculptures with his scissors. Set to Danny Elfman’s haunting score, the crystals sprinkle through the air while Kim dances among them in a moment that will resonate in the hearts of all ages.

The costuming and set design display the subtle, underlying comical element present in all of Burton’s productions. The pastel-colored neighborhood of the Boggs family is a paper cut-out of suburbia meant to seem eerie and dull. When Edward arrives and begins cutting all the hedges into various shapes, the plain community is dusted with eccentricity and fun. This, along with the wacky hairstyles given by Edward, serves to form a stark contrast between pre-Edward and post-Edward suburbia.

Aided by strong performances and a poignant script, Edward Scissorhands shows the beauty of Edward’s guileless wonder and uncontaminated goodness, which contrasts with the fickle, self-serving mob mentality of the neighborhood. Additionally, it delights with its peculiar humor and vulnerable romance that have the ability to dampen the tear ducts a great deal. Captivating and enchanting, this movie is an unforgettable instant classic.

Score: 4/4