Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Film Review: "Tim Burton" Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Figure 1.  "Tim Burton"  Edward Scissorhands (1990)

A classic by Tim Burton, it conveys to the audience the subliminal messages of the 60s American social issues in a unique way using set design and art styles. the story starts with a Woman telling her grand daughter a story in which a man named Edward (Johnny Depp) who had scissors for hands, lived in a mansion atop the hill and is surrounded by the suburban houses.  He is brought out from his seclusion by a sales woman, Peg (Dianne Weist), and invited to live with the family, Edward falls in love with Peg's daughter. while he lives with the family there is a clash between Edward and the people of the american suburbia.

Figure 2. Suburban houses and Edward's mansion.

Shown in figure 2 are the suburban houses surrounding the out of place hill topped by Edward's mansion. the significence of this shot is the stark contrast between the two places in both colour and design. Roger Erbert says in his article "Burton uses special effects and visual tricks to create sights that have never been seen before"(Erbert, 1990). Erbert is stating how Burton has used techniques to separate the Caligari-ish mansion to fit in the background of the more structured american suburbia . 
figure 3. Edward hand still
“Edward Scissorhands” is focusing on the relationships between society and the people in society that are considered different and how society may treat them .A review from the website says that: “This is a wonderful tale about love and kindness, but also about rejection and estrangement. It shows the limits of people's tolerance for what is different from them and how strangers, those who stray from the norm, commonly named 'misfits', awake mockery or fear from a society which will use them and ultimately reject them, thus breaking their innocence and goodness.” (, 2014) which further backs up the point that people with good nature and intentions can be rejected by the society in which they live. 

Figure 4. Edward comforting Kim

an evident part of of this film is the build up of emotion between Edward and Kim. At first Kim from the differnet society found it to be difficult to be around Edward,  as the film progressed Kim starts to fall in love with him because of she see's that even though hes different he's still good hearted. "Kim comes to cherish Edward for his imagination and devotion....the artist sharing his feelings through his art" (Travers, 1990). Travers could be saying that Edward finds communication difficult but displays his emotions through his sculptures and expresses his feelings at the end of the film by the ice sculptures and creating the snow so Kim can see.

This film is not only brilliant through its design and story but also through its strong subliminal messages.

Illustrations List

Figure 1.  "Tim Burton"  Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Figure 2. Suburban houses and Edward's mansion

Figure 3. Edward hand still, (2014). Cinesnatch: Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Edward Scissorhands. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2014].

Figure 4. Edward comforting Kim


Erbert. R(1990) -, (2014) - Edward Scissorhands: review. [online] Available at: 

Travers. P(1990) -

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jamie!
    Sorry, you seem to have passed under my radar up to this point!
    Anyway, this is a thoughtful review; you have touched on some of the themes that are important in this film, such as alienation. It might have been useful to maybe explore the look of the film a little more - the choice of colour, for example - WHY are the houses all painted in those pastel shades?(Consumerism/choice...etc) Or the fact that the dark, sinister castle is where the 'good guy' lives, and the bright and light town is where the 'bad stuff' happens... that sort of thing.

    Just a technical note; when you are compiling your bibliography, the authors are listed in alphabetical order, so you would have, Ebert, Travers. Also make sure that you have everything you need in your bibliography and illustrations listings, by checking the guide here,,,

    Keep your layout consistent - all quotes italicised as well as film names, and the text either justified or aligned to the the moment you have a paragraph in the middle that has been centred.