Release Year: 1990
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: Caroline Graham (screenplay & story), Tim Burton (story)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Alan Arkin, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Robert Oliveri, Conchata Ferrell, Caroline Aaron, Dick Anthony Williams, O-Lan Jones, Vincent Price
Rating: Nominated for 1 Oscar: Best Makeup. Nominated for 1 Golden Globe: Best Actor – Comedy or Musical (Johnny Depp).
The innocent and gentle Edward, who has scissors for hands, is brought to the suburban home of Peg (Dianne Wiest). Initially he is well-received by the neighbours and takes a liking to his new home. But when he falls for Peg’s daughter Kim (Winona Ryder) and people attempt to exploit his kindness, the community’s mood towards him changes.
In 1990 Tim Burton was mostly known as the director of Batman (1989), a comic book movie that was actually succesful, a rare thing in those days. When he followed it up with this modern fairy-tale, Tim Burton not only founded a friend- and partnership with Johnny Depp that has so-far spawned 7 films, he also showed his true colours with a fully fleshed vision of his goofy-gothic style, which he had previously given us a taste of in the fantasy comedy Beetlejuice (1988). Burton is an auteur with a distinctive and flamboyant style; this is without doubt divisive and those who dislike him will dislike all of his films (perhaps with the exception of Ed Wood (1994)) and those who like him will find something to like in all of his films (parhaps with the exception of Planet of the Apes (2001)). However, if there is one of his films that might touch even the most cynical of hearts it is Edward Scissorhands. Here Burton and screenwriter Caroline Graham have created a modern fairy-tale, helped on their way by a fantastic score from Danny Elfman and inspired casting, both Depp (Sleepy Hollow, 1999), who captures something with the character that no one else could, but also Ryder (Dracula, 1992) as the girl of Edward’s innocent affections, and Wiest (Bullets Over Broadway, 1994) as his kindhearted foster mother. The film is both funny and moving, romantic and enchanting. The cast of suburban neighbours are both exasperating and endearing in equal measure and the art direction is gorgeous and oh so Burtonesque. Last but not least, Burton added gold to an already wonderful film by securing Vincent Price (House on Haunted Hill, 1959) for the role of the inventor, a part written especially for him. His role was supposed to be bigger, but the elderly actor was not well enough for more than a limited role. A film for anyone who loves fairy-tales and the fantastical and a film you might fall in love with if you are not careful. Our highest recommendation!
NB: The trailer contains some spoilers.
The character of Peg (Dianne Wiest) was based on writer Caroline Graham’s mother, who used to bring strangers to the house and several of the neighbours are based on people she new in her childhood. The town is based on Tim Burton’s hometown of Burbank California. It look overly bright and fantastical because the story is meant to be seen through the eyes of Edward.
Picture Copyright: SF Film