Edward Scissorhands was directed by Tim Burton. The name of the film represents the movie entirely because it is the name of the main character. It reflects on the ultimate theme of conformity with the unusual and considered old fashioned name. The title of this story also gives away to how incomplete the main character Edward is with only one real name. The last name “Scissorhands” is just a blunt term and definition of who Edward is. Meaning, Edward is different than any other person because he has scissors for hands.
The setting of the film takes place in a peaceful suburban community. Most importantly the dark, mansion that looks upon the suburbia which is Edward’s home. The film leaves its actual location up to imagination but, many guess in a dry and warm state out West in the United States. It takes place during the late 1950s’ which was the era of conformity. The story lasts less than a few weeks. The exception is majority of the film is a flashback of one of the main character’s memory so the timeline of the film would last a few decades. The setting of this film in particular is the very core to whole story itself. The colors used are to show the contrast between the two worlds. Very bright pastels are used in the suburban area as compared to the dark, melancholy colors used to show off Edward’s home and world.
The protagonist of this film is Edward. Edward was a creation by a very intelligent inventor. He was built with the inventor’s very own hands and before Edward was finished, the inventor died. This left Edward confused, alone and most importantly incomplete. Edward was left with scissors for hands and not much knowledge of the world outside of the inventor’s home in the mansion that overlooked town. Physically Edward has a very pale complexion and scarred face from accidentally cutting himself with his hands. He has pitch black, over grown and considered odd hair to many in that time period. He wears all black, it appears to be the clothing his inventor had left him in before his death. Edward has a very gentle voice and whenever there is a close-up of his eyes they are always sad and longing. When Peg Boggs, an Avon associate who does door to door advertising visits his home finds Edward alone in the mansion. Peg immediately grasps the situation that he has a problem and sweetly imagines that it can be solved with kindness. Peg brings him home with her and through a series of events Edward gets mixed in with Peg’s neighbors who are amazed by the outcast’s unusual charm. It was something about Edward that intrigued them and pulled them away from their plain lives. He slowly breaks out of his shell, but due to his budding love for Peg’s teenage daughter, Kim, he causes problems within the suburbia. Many lessons are learned by Edward and by the community from Edward’s visit. It is very hard to pin point who the antagonist would be in this film because in the end nearly everybody turns against Edward. One who stands out the most would be Edward’s love interest Kim’s boyfriend, Jim. Jim’s problem with Edward is pure jealousy. Jim has been what seems like the popular guy within their town, and he has a beautiful girlfriend. He feels threatened by Edward because people find him, who is supposed to be an outcast, more interesting than their golden boy. Jim also has deeper issues concerning his father and home life which he takes those frustrations out on Edward. Jim finds Edward as joke at first, but as more time Edward spent with Kim’s family he felt competition.
There are a few different example of conflicts throughout the film. The most dominant would be man vs. man. Edward has learned a lot over his short visit to this new world in the community he has closely watched for so long from a far. So have the people within the town, but nothing can last forever. When two different worlds try to collide, there will never be a middle ground. Toward the end of the film, Jim enraged knowing he’d lost Kim because of his selfish ways to Edward he ruined everything. When Edward was trying to fit in and create beauty from is situation he was carving an ice block into a sculpture, when Jim yelled for him to get away from Kim who was dancing in the snow that was created from his carving Edward accidentally cut her hand. In panic from Jim screaming at him and telling him how big of a outcast he was, Edward ran away. When he decided to return home, Kim’s feelings and love for Edward were expressed. Jim angered by Kim no longer loving him and leaving him went to get drunk. In a drunken jealous rage he and his friend drove drunk and almost hit Kevin, Kim’s little brother with the van. Edward came to Kevin’s rescue and pushed him out of harms way but was mistaken for Edward attacking Kevin. Terrified Edward fled the scene and went back to his home. The cop knew he had simply returned home and he let him go assuring all the neighbors everything was okay and to return home. Kim ran to Edward’s home to see him and confess her love, not knowing Jim had followed. Jim brought a handgun and tried to shoot Edward, and a fight erupted between all three of them. When Jim hurt Kim, Edward in rage stabbed him with hand which led Jim to descend out a glass window to his death. Neighbors gathered around Jim’s dead body in complete shock. Kim knew that she could never see Edward again and Edward who has matured over this entire experience seemed to understand the same thing. They kissed in fair well, and Edward finally heard what he wanted to hear his entire life, that somebody loves him. Kim to protect Edward ran down out of the mansion, with a spare scissor hand that was laying around the inventor’s workshop and told them that Edward was dead. Kim never saw Edward again after that night. In the end, the problem was not solved. It only escalated and ended in pain. It just goes to show human’s many flaws, and learning acceptance is one of them.
The theme of this story was to basically confront the viewer with an ironical aspect of being fitted into society. Conformity and it’s struggles radiate throughout this entire film. A prime example would be when Peg Boggs brings Edward down to live with her and starts to immediately change him by putting new clothes on him. Then she tries to cover up his scars on his face, using key lines such as “blending is the secret”. Viewers are positioned to feel positive for conformity with a perspective of blending into society can make people’s lives easier and happier. Use of scenes of events such as barbecues and Christmas parties encourages the viewer with comfort and peace of conformity. Later, the film shows housewives gossiping about the difference of Edward in an early stage, viewers are positioned to be aware that conforming into society can be dangerous. Then, about the last half of the film viewers are positioned to view conformity negatively showing the stereotypical image of the housewives wanting nothing to do with Edward and eventually pushing him out of town. Even, Peg Boggs realized her mistake and agreed that it be best is he go home. Tim Burton, the director, uses a variation of the classic horror theme exemplified by the story of Frankenstein. This being where a monster enters into an apparently peaceful community and disrupts the calm. This film was just manipulated from the horror genre into a mixture of horror, comedy, romance, and fairytale. This is a story about a misunderstood gentleness and stifled creativity, of civilization’s power to corrupt innocence, of a heedless beauty and a kindhearted beast.
One major symbol throughout the film and probably the most important would be Edward’s scissor hands. This is so important because it shows the flaw on such a beautiful soul on the outside. It symbolizing difference and change, it scares people because of these is makes Edward different than everybody else. It was the reason Edward remained alone and it was the reason Peg brought him down to live with her. These are the cause of the whole story. Second, there is the garden sculptures Edward creates out of shrubs. These represent Edward’s inner beauty and creativity. The sculptures are what show the rest of the world that he is kind, and create beauty out of the madness. This drew people to Edward and what made people fascinated instead of terrified. Another important symbol would be the snow that Edward creates at the end of the film. It shows a contrast between the way his life started out living with Peg to coldness he began to feel toward the end. The snow represented the change he brought to the people and especially Kim. It showed how he blossomed, and when the chaos of his visit came and left, he still left his mark behind to the town. Before Edward visited it had never snowed, and now every year it does. This is because even though Edward was looked down upon at the end, he still wanted to show people he can create beauty and not just destruction.
This is by far, my favorite Tim Burton flick that has nothing to do with stop-motion animation.