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Study Guide - Edward Scissorhands: Film Reviews

A guide to assist in the study of this film by providing background information and additional resources

Edward Scissorhands : Film Review by Roger Ebert 14th December 1990


Edward Scissorhands : Film Review by Mark Lee 17th December 2014

Edward Scissorhands, review: 'a true fairytale.'

Tim Burton's film Edward Scissorhands, starring Johnny Depp, is sad yet laced with humour and humanity

By Marc Lee

5:17 PM GMT 17 Dec 2014

Edward Scissorhands (1990) was directed by Tim Burton. It stars Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price and Alan Arkin. Running time: 105 minutes.

A wild-haired eccentric arrives in town and demonstrates an extraordinary creativity – now where did movie wunderkind Tim Burton (wild-haired, deeply eccentric) get the idea for Edward Scissorhands?

Certainly, Burton's modern fairytale has an almost palpably personal feel: it is told gently, subtly and with infinite sympathy for an outsider who charms the locals but then inadvertently arouses their baser instincts.

Not that any subtlety applies to the wonderful look of the film, with its Addams Family-style mansion plonked on the edge of a pastel-hued American suburb, where the husbands go to the office at exactly the same time, and the wives bake apple pies and gossip over the garden fence.

Then there's Edward himself, one of the most memorable figures in modern cinema: strapped to the throat in S&M black leather, deathly pale, sad-eyed and eyebrowless – and blessed with a terrifying array of razor-sharp blades instead of hands.

He is brought into the community after clueless Avon lady Peg (Dianne Wiest), desperate to make a sale, finally tries the forbidding house on the hill and finds the incomplete creation of a recently deceased inventor cowering in the corner like a frightened animal.

Initially, the neighbours are intrigued and friendly and amazed by Edward's talents (fantastical topiary, hairstyling, salad-chopping). But, as they get to know him - and as he falls for Peg's doe-eyed daughter Kim (Winona Ryder) – lust, avarice and jealousy blossom darkly.

Johnny Depp is sensational in the lead role, summoning anxiety, melancholy and innocence with heartbreaking conviction. And it's all in the eyes: his dialogue is cut-to-the-bone minimal.

Burton's vision, for all its sadness, is laced with humour and humanity. Like all true fairytales it bears endless repetition.

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