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USA 1990
Directed by
Tim Burton
100 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Edward Scissorhands

Tim Burton's under-rated fantasy film is a marvellously inventive story about a sweet Avon lady, Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest), who befriends a weirdo, Edward (Johnny Depp), with scissors for hands and brings him home to live the suburban dream. Her act of kindness goes wrong however when Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), the boyfriend of Peg’s daughter, Kim (Winona Ryder), tries to use Edward’s special skills for evil and the neighbourhood turns on him.

Written by Caroline Thompson from an original story by her and Burton (although Mary Shelley's Frankenstein lies behind it) the film is a touching parable of society’s cruelty in the face of difference. It is not so much the "what" of the story that wins the day here as the "how" as Burton deft realization of it. From the typically Burtonesque opening credits underscored by Danny Elfman's equally typical music, it is a wonderful production, set in some kind of 1960/80s time warp with manicured lawns and pastel-coloured houses with sunburst clocks on the living room wall but also CD players and VHS recorders (which is what Jim is trying to steal from his own father). The production and costume design, art direction and cinematography combine to create an exquisitely-crafted, deliciously artificial contrast to the pathos of the story. Performances are excellent with Wiest and Alan Arkin as her husband, Bill, a perfect storybook couple and Depp, despite the heavy-make-up, giving one of the best performance of his career and many collaborations with Burton.




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