Known for his creepy and wacky stories, Tim Burton typically shines during the Halloween season. Originally based on a drawing Burton made when he was new to the directing world, “Edward Scissorhands” tells a unique story of isolation by following the life of an awkward, pale man with scissors for hands.
Released in 1990, “Edward Scissorhands” definitely brings out the strangeness associated with the widely celebrated holiday. Immediately when the film starts, the vibrant colors and scenery catch the eye’s attention. Given the film provides a 1950s aesthetic, Burton makes it clear that Edward, played by Johnny Depp, is not meant for the world he is injected into. The colors directly contrast with Depp’s character, which makes the theme of isolation obvious.
At times, the film feels as if it is overwhelmed by the idea of isolation and that all the other aspects of the film are directed toward supporting this idea of loneliness. The plot of the film provides some good complications for Edward, but most of these stem from him not fitting in with the normalcy of the other characters' society. The other characters try to integrate Edward by teaching him proper social etiquette, which allows the film to introduce a wide spectrum of emotions.
The way Edward is misunderstood by the society and escapes into isolation carries the story. Humor integrates itself throughout the film and makes the odd situation of a man with scissors for hands enjoyable and hilarious. On top of the humor, the film introduces sadness, inspiration and different interpretations of love.
The overwhelming need to portray a lost man who, no matter what, cannot fit in with the rest of the world, drags out the film in some places and causes it to be plain. The film is paced well for the message it tells and keeps interest because of this, but there could have been more to entertain the audience. Kim, played by Winona Ryder, is introduced as the love interest but the love was not built up convincingly from her side of the story, which comes across as a missed opportunity.
Edward is shown as a good character throughout the film, partly because of the costume and makeup design, but mostly because of Depp’s performance. Depp uses his talent to depict an awkward personality and does this by rendering Edward’s social skills. Depp does a really good job at conveying this uncomfortable character and still making him likeable to the audience. Edward Scissorhands has a mixture of kindness, innocence and pure love for the characters around him which is unexpected based on his outward appearance.
Besides Depp’s acting performance, one other cast member worth noting is Dianne Wiest and how her character, Peg, and acting performance carry the story. Since Depp’s character requires less dialogue due to his stiff nature, Peg uses it to prompt most of the situations that build the story. Peg’s motherly love shines in every scene she is in and provides as a surrogate mother for Edward.
Burton has an amazing ability to create an interesting dynamic between not just the use of bland and vibrant colors but the characters themselves, which combine to create multiple, different, obvious and underlying meanings of the film. This fan-favorite shines by allowing the audience to experience a bizarre story that is told through down-to-earth emotions.