In the middle of a suburbs stylized to the nines, the Boggs have made a modest, any-day home for them and their two children. Peg Boggs (Dianne Weist) makes her living as an Avon lady, going door-to-door with second rate beauty products, trying to make the outside meet the (supposed) inside. She is the gentlest woman in her neighborhood by a long shot. So, when she stumbles upon poor Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp), a Frankenstein-like creature who has scissors instead of fingers, she feels the motherly instinct to take care of the assembled fellow.
After making a home with the Boggs, Edward starts to have feelings for the daughter, Kim (Winona Ryder). To prove he has sympathy for outcasts, Burton has the gumption to cast Anthony Michael Hall as her threatening (and threatened) boyfriend. All of a sudden, Edward is swept up into a blur of faux-celebrity status, brought on by his pension for beautiful gardening and haircuts. When a neighbor (Kathy Baker) tries to exploit him too much and Kim's boyfriend uses him for petty crime, the celebrity persona turns negative and soon enough, pitchfork and torch sales are flying through the roof.
Whether he's pitting Batman against the Joker or giving us an uncanny look at the afterlife, Burton has a way of both making our eyes pop and crafting a story with genuine feeling. Edward is the closest we've seen to Burton onscreen, with Ed Bloom as a close second. Without judgment or cynicism, Edward wants to embrace the world and his new family, but when he does he hurts them. Think of Burton with Hollywood: Every time he attempts to embrace them and give them a gift, they shun him and reject him (the miracle-maker has yet to even be nominated for an Oscar). Hollywood (aka The World) senses creativity and intuition as amusements that quickly turn into threats against the structure of life, and the Boggs' neighborhood do the same thing to Edward. More than even his masterpiece, Ed Wood, Burton seems to be at his most socially aware in this film.
Depp's gentle performance gives new dimension to the old Frankenstein monster, allowing for a more human connection since Edward was created by a crazy scientist (a killer cameo by Vincent Price) in the image of a son. What sells the film ultimately is the tenderness given to both the love story between Kim and Edward and the scenes at home with the family. Ryder and Depp have a dazzling chemistry and in the film's climax, we see warmth that digs into what Burton feels about family and love, subjects he has spent his career reinventing. His gothic tones always mask a feeling of wonder and an endearing love for everything that is possible in life and death. We should all be so lucky to feel and find hope in his magic.
The sun'll come out tomorrow.
Run time: 105 mins
In Theaters: Friday 14th December 1990
Box Office Worldwide: $53M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: 20th Century Fox
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 49 Rotten: 5
IMDB: 8.0 / 10
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter: Caroline Thompson
Starring: Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, Winona Ryder as Kim, Dianne Wiest as Peg, Alan Arkin as Bill, Anthony Michael Hall as Jim, Vincent Price as The Inventor, Kathy Baker as Joyce, Robert Oliveri as Kevin, Conchata Ferrell as Helen, Caroline Aaron as Marge, Dick Anthony Williams as Officer Allen, O-Lan Jones as Esmeralda, Susan Blommaert as Tinka, Linda Perri as Cissy, John Davidson as Host TV, Biff Yeager as George, Donna Pieroni as Blonde / TV
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