Film Review - Edward Scissorhands


Edward Scissorhands 

Release date - 1990
Director - Tim Burton
Genre - Fantasy, Romance, drama

When Tim Burton created the film he intended to mock the faults in society.
Throughout the film Edward as a character attempts to address the theme of how people feel the obligations of conformity, Tim Burton shows throughout his work he is a non conformist.

It goes without saying the story is solid, there are few subplots to the film, but Edwards pursuit to try to fit in is one, we seem to take a trip with him as if its our first time in a strange new world as well, throughout the whole film Edward is longing to be accepted by the outside world and at first he is accepted but due to an unfortunate event being tricked into robbing a family home the whole neighbourhood turns against him saying they knew all along he was bad, Peter Travers touches on the subject in his review "Burton, a misfit kid from California who took solace in drawing cartoons and watching Vincent Price horror movies, clearly relates personally to Edward's situation. Burton shows how the townspeople's curiosity about Edward turns to suspicion and hostility (not unlike Hollywood's reaction to an innovative mind). " (Travers, 1990)

The contrast of the film helps set Edward apart from the rest of the town, for one thing he lived in total isolation but the neighbourhood below totally thrives on gossip . Also the dark mansion on the hill that is Edward's home is contrasted by the colourful, perfect town below (Fig.2), all the houses are built neatly in rows, fences all lined up evenly and even the neighbours seem to be in a routine of running, tending to the lawn or walking the family pet (Fig.3). This shows the contrast of nonconformity vs conformity in the film. The use of colour is important in the film, Edward and the castle are pale and dark, perhaps foreshadowing the films outcome. The small town is bright, colourful and vibrant reflecting the pace of life, Roger Ebert mentions the use of colours "The movie takes place in an entirely artificial world, where a haunting gothic castle crouches on a mountaintop high above a storybook suburb, a goofy sitcom neighborhood where all of the houses are shades of pastels and all of the inhabitants seem to be emotional clones of the Jetsons.." (Ebert,1990) This being said the art of the film is overly creative and bold, from the lawn hedges outside Edwards castle (Fig.4) to the quirky almost expressionistic design of everything inside everyones home, even Edward himself at times is a object of art being artificial life.

Contrasting castle and town.
Neat vibrant town.
Hedges outside Edwards home.

Edward himself though just pulls you in with a innocent pure look, so odd yet so loveable, you instantly fall for this character and route for him the whole way through this dark yet comical love story,  Owen Gleiberman expresses his love for the character also "Yet I loved the film simply for the character of Edward, who is Burton's purest achievement as a director so far. As an image, a presence, he's at once poetic and heartbreaking, and the innocent aggression implicit in his hands create undercurrents of rich, subversive comedy" (Gleiberman, 1990) the love story itself is certainly a heartbreaking one, an innocent boy whose heart is set on a girl you would think wouldn't fall for him, but you soon find out she does and keeps that love with her for the rest of her life.


Ebert, Roger (1990) 'Edward Scissorhands (1990)'
In: http://www.rogerebert.com 14.12.1990 [Online]
At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/edward-scissorhands-1990 (Accessed on 03.11.14)

Gleiberman, Owen (1990) ' Edward Scissorhands (1990)'
In: http://www.ew.com/ew/ 07.12.1990 [online]
At: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20609141_318762,00.html (Accessed on 03.11.14) 

Travers, Peter (1990) 'Edward Scissorhands (1990)'
In: http://www.rollingstone.com 14.12.1990 [Online]
At: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/edward-scissorhands-19901214 (Accessed on 03.11.14)

Illustration List - 

Figure 1. Edward Scissorhands Movie Poster on Behance (1990) From: Edward Scissorhands. Directed by: Tim Burton. [Film Poster] United States: 20th Century Fox.

Figure 2. Katy Fosdike: Mise en Scene FIlm Review: Edward Scissorhands (1990) From: Edward Scissorhands. Directed by: Tim Burton. [Film Still] United States: 20th Century Fox.

Figure 3. So's Reel Thoughts: Frankenweenie (1990) From: Edward Scissorhands. Directed by: Tim Burton. [Film Still] United States: 20th Century Fox.

Figure 3. Edward Scissorhands Lived in My Backyard… (1990) From: Edward Scissorhands. Directed by: Tim Burton. [Film Still] United States: 20th Century Fox.
At: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAUQjBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fzannaland.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F06%2Fedward-1.jpg&ei=2_dXVIi-Cu6v7Aad54DYDA&psig=AFQjCNH5VrJjEqHaY8-Czc4g73xWWbH5ZQ&ust=1415137627333286


  1. Hi Becky,

    Ok, I am going to comment on this post, but also refer to your reviews on 'Alien' and 'Belle'...

    Firstly, I notice that in this review you have used a wider range of research material, which is what you are asked to do in the brief, so that's good :) In the previous 2 reviews, you relied solely on 1 source for each, which gives you a much more limited scope for discussion. 3 sources is really the minimum for reviews like these...you also can't use the same quote twice! (see comment on the 'Belle' review)
    Make sure that you keep your font consistent in style and size - in 'Alien' you have a variety of sizes going on.

    All that being said, you have discussed the themes of conformity vs non-conformity well here !

    1. Hey Jackie,
      Thanks for your feedback, i will keep it in mind to use a wider range of research material at all times.
      For 'Belle' though i really struggled to write and find a decent review to back up what i was saying but i have no idea how i managed to double up on the last quote! (i corrected it now, also changed the font on alien)