Released in 1990, Edward Scissorhands is a classic American fantasy romance film directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, of Beetlejuice fame. The movie has since become a cult classic, with its themes of individuality, societal norms, and the beauty in imperfection resonating with audiences even today. In this article, we will visit the sad and magical world of Edward Scissorhands and explore the various aspects of the film that make it so unique.
The movie tells the story of Edward, a young man who was created by an inventor, played by Vincent Price, but left unfinished with scissor-like hands when the inventor passed away.
Edward is discovered by a sweet woman named Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest), an Avon lady, and is taken into her suburban home. Initially feared and misunderstood by the locals, Edward soon becomes a sensation, using his unique scissor hands to trim hedges and create beautiful ice sculptures. Edward even sets up a makeshift hair salon in the Boggs family living room.
However, as he falls in love with Peg’s daughter, Kim, his vulnerability and lack of understanding of society in general, lead to misunderstandings with tragic consequences. He becomes the local outcast and the town begins to turn on him, creating a nightmare scenario for both Edward and the paranoid locals.
The town in Edward Scissorhands is based on the Burbank, California, and the neighborhood where Burton grew up, but was mostly shot in Northern Tampa, Florida. The pastel painted town itself was filmed in a Florida neighborhood and suburb of Lutz, FL. Production designer Bo Welch, brought the cookie-cutter town to life and several scenes were shot in the Southgate Shopping Center in Lakeland, FL.
The cast is exceptional, with each actor delivering a powerful performance that brings the story to life. Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Edward is particularly noteworthy, as he manages to convey a range of emotions and vulnerability despite his character’s lack of verbal communication.
Winona Ryder’s portrayal of Kim is reserved and layered. While she is initially fearful of Edward, she eventually falls in love with him. Its’ obvious she and Edward connect on a much deeper, soul level. Winona Ryder said she couldn’t relate to her character, a popular cheerleader, since at the time, she was so well known for her dark and twisted characters, such as the role she played in Heathers.
The Visuals and Soundtrack
The visuals showcase Tim Burton’s unique vision and artistic style. The film’s pastel-colored suburban setting is in stark contrast to Edward’s gothic castle, and the use of light and shadow adds to the film’s overall eerie and dreamlike quality. It’s also indicative of 1950’s/60’s cookie-cutter suburbia, especially some of the exterior shots of the Boggs’ house.
The soundtrack, by Danny Elfman, is one of the most beautiful and haunting soundtracks to come out in the last thirty years. It works beautifully in a particularly famous scene, where Winona Ryder dances in the “snow”. What looks like snow is actually coming from the ice sculpture Edward is cutting up, far above the town, in his lonely castle at the top of the hill.
In the end, Edward proves to be too much for the town, and in order to keep himself safe, is sent back to live in isolation in his gothic mansion, where he spent his childhood. What makes the dancing scene so beautiful, is that Kim understands that the snow is Edward, and year after year, when the snow falls, it will remind her of the love that he has for her.
Edward Scissorhands is a timeless classic that has touched the hearts of audiences for over thirty years. Edward Scissorhands still holds a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of the most iconic movies of all time.