Edward Scissorhands directed by Tim Burton conveys many ideas and themes to the viewer. Of these ideas, the most predominant are that of finding beauty in the most unlikely of places, and accepting difference. By exploring and understanding individual characters, in particular, Edward Scissorhands, and film techniques in this movie, we can develop a better understanding and knowledge of the ideas portrayed to us, and apply these to situations that we may face in our own lives.
Edward Scissorhands is first introduced to us when Peg, a door to door makeup saleswoman, approaches and enters the supposedly haunted and unoccupied mansion on the outskirts of the town. As Peg climbs the staircase, nearing the top floor, Tim Burton uses very subtle, eerie and suspenseful music. This technique gives the viewer a sense of mystery about what Peg will find. When Peg reaches the top level of the mansion, she sees a dark figure hidden in the shadows in the corner of the room. “Why are you hiding back there?
You don’t have to hide from me … “As the figure emerges from the shadows, we first see the black leather clothing, embroidered with metal studs and buckles. As we see more of the figure, we are shown the scarred face, and messy, unkempt hair. Also, he is cast in a very dim light, which helps to portray the sinister effect of the scene. This particular scene gives us the impression that Edward is intimidating and evil, however at the same time, makes us think about how helpless and misunderstood he really is.
This first impression is important, as later in the movie, it helps to depict the contrast and difference between Edward and the society of suburbia. As the film progresses, we are shown how unaccepted Edward is in society. The world into which he is brought into is the perfect example of plain conformity, and initially, he seems welcomed by the rest of the community as an entertaining stranger, but is brutally rejected when things go wrong.
One instance where this happens is when Edward accidentally cuts Kim while sculpting an ice sculpture, and Jim, Kim’s boyfriend, starts accusing Edward of cutting her intentionally. “Who the hell do you think you are hanging around here, huh? Get the hell out of here! Go you freak! ” Underneath the communities conventional exteriors, the majority of people that Edward meets are narrow-minded and insensitive, and this is what eventually causes Edward to lose control of his sanity and expels him from the community.
Edward Scissorhands also helps the viewer understand the idea that conforming is tedious and that we must learn to accept difference into society. This theme is shown in Edward primarily through his actions and the reactions of those around him. The people of suburbia project their own idea of what Edward should be like onto him. They are originally delighted by his ability to create excitement and change their usual lacklustre lives, and bland environment in which they live. However, they are deterred by the darkness and pain of his past which makes him who he is.
These people prove to be far more destructive than Edward, except for Peg’s daughter, Kim, who finds the accompanying creativity and humanity within Edward so interesting and attractive. “If he weren’t up there now … I don’t think it would be snowing. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it. ” By coming down into the world of the suburbs, Edward brings the contrast and depth that life requires, but he is soon expelled for challenging the boring, conforming life behind which the suburban characters hide.
The idea of accepting difference is important, even to us, in the real world. We must open ourselves up to the entire world and the idea of change, and by accepting difference into our lives. We open up a world of opportunity, be it friendships or work prospects. Also, this idea helps us to look past the physical or outwards appearances of people, and see their true personality and who they really are, despite whether they have black or white skin, Christian or Islam, scissor hands or fingered hands.
Just as ‘Edward Scissorhands’ depicts, if we do not accept difference, and look past outward appearances, we will end up as a bland and conforming society. ‘Edward Scissorhands’, a particularly dark form of a fairy tale does not end ideally. Far from living happily ever after, but it poses us, as the audience with an idea, to accept difference into our society and live lives with open arms, open to the entire world.