Edward Scissorhands: Christmas in July Blogathon 2020

Welcome to day 3 of the Christmas in July Blogathon 2020! Today we are joined by the cinephile and poet SG from Rhyme and Reason. SG uniquely combines his love of movies with his love of poetry, as you’ll see below. Definitely go check his blog out for a unique movie review format. Today, SG reviews the non-traditional Christmas film Edward Scissorhands.

Scissors for hands – what a curious trait!
What a sad and bizarre and improbable fate!
For scissors for hands, with their razor-sharp edges,
Would terrify all, and especially hedges.
How lonely ‘twould be to be born with such digits,
Endangering life with the slightest of fidgets!

For who could love someone so strange and pathetic,
With hands so unsightly, unsafe, and synthetic?
Somebody could, though you might call it schmaltz,
For love can look past all exterior faults.
Some mock and some fear, but if one understands,
That one can love past even scissors for hands.

MPA rating: PG-13

Thanks to Drew for letting me take part again in his annual blogathon. When it comes to Christmas in July, I tend to gravitate to films that aren’t full-on Christmas movies but still fulfill the mid-year need for some holiday spirit. This year, I decided to check out a film I hadn’t sought out before, due to my family’s general dislike of Tim Burton’s macabreness, but that I had heard fit into the unorthodox Christmas mold. Now that I’ve seen Edward Scissorhands, it’s hard to say it fits into any mold at all, but I can see why it brought attention to this first team-up of Burton and star Johnny Depp.

Even before the credits rolled, Edward Scissorhands struck me as a modern Grimm’s fairy tale, charming, weird, dark, and sad, yet still somehow beloved by many. Dianne Wiest plays Peg Boggs, a mother and Avon saleswoman, who enters the deserted medieval castle looming over her suburban neighborhood (not weird at all, right?) and discovers the lonely and timid Edward (Depp). He is an artificial man, created by the inventor who once lived there (Vincent Price in one of his last roles) but sadly unfinished and left with giant scissors in place of hands. Peg quickly decides to bring the orphaned Edward home with her, and he is taken wide-eyed into the friendships and vanities of suburban America, soon falling in love with Peg’s daughter Kim (Winona Ryder).

Tim Burton has called Edward Scissorhands his favorite and most personal film, and I can see why since it epitomizes his offbeat stylistic flourishes, of course heightened by a haunting Danny Elfman score. Both when Peg explores the Gothic castle and when the metal-bodied Edward explores her home, there’s a distinct visual contrast between the characters and the setting. Likewise, as Edward spreads his gift for topiaries, the presence of uniquely shaped hedges throughout the cookie-cutter pastel houses lends a special peculiarity to the environment, traces of the visiting stranger who doesn’t seem to belong.

Yet there’s also a clear lesson about books and their covers. Despite the clear ribbing of small-town sensibilities and gossip, most of the neighbors are surprisingly accepting of Edward, and despite his imposing hand blades, he proves to be a gentle soul, tenderly cutting the hair of people and pets and only ever cutting himself by accident. It is this very kindness that wins over Kim, despite his eccentricities. It isn’t until cruelty imposes on Edward, mainly in the form of Kim’s jealous boyfriend (Anthony Michael Hall), that he is viewed as dangerous, leading to rumors and a scenario straight out of Frankenstein.

So how is this at all Christmas-y? Well, mostly it’s not; the Christmas elements don’t come in until the climax, which takes place on the eve of a Christmas party in the Boggs home. Plus, actual hands were to be a Christmas present for Edward, and his use of his blades for ice sculpting creates the appearance of falling snow, becoming heartbreaking and poetic by the end. It’s not heavy on the holiday trappings, but there’s enough to warrant inclusion on a typical list of unconventional Christmas fare. It also kicked off Burton’s affinity for injecting Christmas into his dark films, as he did in Batman Returns and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Considering how reminiscent certain elements and themes are to Frankenstein and Beauty and the Beast, it’s surprising how original Edward Scissorhands feels, a genuine representation of Tim Burton’s surreal whimsy before it became clouded by lesser CGI-heavy adaptations of others’ stories. Personally, I thought Depp was a little too awkwardly blank-faced most of the time, but I could still see the subtle emotions at play. I thought Wiest with her selfless concern for Edward was the real star and heart of the film, and I was also glad to see Winona Ryder. If I hadn’t been a child in the ‘90s, I would have had a huge crush on her. I’m still not sure I’ve developed a taste for Tim Burton, especially since I was more depressed than wistful by the end, but Edward Scissorhands is one of the stronger entries in the director’s quirky oeuvre.

Best line:
(audience member, when Edward is on a talk show) “But if you had regular hands, you’d be like everyone else.”
(Edward) “Yes, I know.”
(host) “I think he’d like that.”
(audience member) “Then no one would think you’re special. You wouldn’t be on TV or anything.”
(Peg) “No matter what, Edward will always be special.”

Rank: List Runner-Up

© 2020 S.G. Liput

P.S. Thanks again to Drew for having me once more and hosting this blogathon! As for my plus-one for the Christmas party, I think I’d like to bring Lily James, along with some mistletoe. 😊

You’re welcome, SG! Thank you for joining in again.

Tomorrow my Ultimate Decades enters the Christmas in July Blogathon.

Until next time, cheers!

Edward Scissorhands Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2017

First up today is none other than Kelechi, the mind behind Confessions From a Geek Mind. She reviews a ton of movies and has a weekly soundtrack feature. There is a lot of great content to be found so go check her site out when you get the chance if you are unfamiliar with it.  Kelechi stops by with her review of the nontraditional Christmas film Edward Scissorhands. Take it away, Kelechi!

Welcome to a winter wonderland…

That’s what Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands captures in the opening credits. As we enter through its doors it’s a glimpse of another world, a world of inventive and mechanical creation. We witness the birth of Edward (Johnny Depp), a man with scissors for hands and the death of his father and creator (Vincent Price), told musically like a dreamy fairy tale thanks to Danny Elfman’s magical score.

It’s easy to overlook the beauty and power of Edward Scissorhands. When it comes to Christmas films, the usual suspects all appear – Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life and even Die Hard. But Tim Burton’s film is the perfect balance of the usual wintery escape and the beautiful surrealism of a misunderstood soul.

Edward’s tale is a classic fish out of water scenario, born out of fascination and curiosity. He lives in Gothic mansion surrounded by a Yin Yang balance of his imaginative creations and the periodical darkness of the mansion which hides his gift, talent and most importantly himself. His isolation from the outside world suddenly changes when he meets Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest), plucking him out of his sheltered life and introduces him to her world. To Edward’s amazement, it’s much bigger than what he’s use to.

Through Edward’s eyes we watch him explore his new world. He’s never had to wear clothes, eat at a dinner table or drink alcohol for the first time. As he’s slowly integrated into society, he’s treated as the local celebrity and an in-fashion trend. The deeper that integration takes on, the more he feels welcomed. The Bogg’s family don’t view Edward as someone having a disability. They adopt him and nurture him into their lives as if he was one of their own kids. Peg tries to be considerate and her husband Bill (Alan Arkin) delivers fatherly advice – sometimes oblivious to Edward’s internal plight and told with an unintentional comedic effect. However strange Edward’s new world is, he feels a sense of belonging, a feeling further increased when he sees Kim for the first time (Winona Ryder).

There’s a clever Frankenstein ideology that Edward Scissorhands taps into. Just like Mary Shelley’s novel, Edward was an unorthodox experiment by The Inventor. The story is not concerned on the major details or back story but it’s easy to imagine a possible degree of loneliness. Sparked by love and a creative burst of an idea, Edward started to take shape, embodying The Inventor’s gifted talents. Unable to complete the final task of giving Edward real hands, the fear of Edward’s appearance is unsettling and to some others intimidating. He’s a monstrous creation. Kim is essentially the Bride of Frankenstein – in the unconventional sense. She’s not a mirror image of Edward. She doesn’t have metal scissors for hands but her beauty bedazzles him. He sees through the troublesome relationship with Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), awakening an emotive and empowering connection. Just like Sleeping Beauty, Kim awakens from her clouded slumber. Her rejection slowly evolving into love, compassion and magical wonder – a dance she performs at seeing snow for the first time.

So why does the story of Edward resonate with us so much? As much as Edward Scissorhands is a tragic love story, not given the traditional happy ending, but it is a film about acceptance and a search for happiness. Edward can’t change the fact that he’s different from others nor could he prevent his creator from passing away. From his limited, often monosyllabic responses, inside his mind and heart is a container full of emotions, expressed through his highly creative art as a way of dealing with being an outsider in a complex society. His mind is a bottled-up cavern containing memories of happiness as well as grief, brought the surface for the audience by his interaction with others. Even though the Boggs family do as much as they can to protect, love and celebrate Edward, the world can be judgemental.

The community in Edward Scissorhands are not evil. Director Tim Burton makes a clear distinction about suburban life in comparison to other films which paints suburbia as a dark underbelly. They’re more hypocritical, simply fearing what they don’t understand. They’re too quick to take advantage of his unique ability but not enough emotional sympathy to connect with him like Kim does. When trouble escalates from one incident to another, they instantly revert back to their default positions where they gossip and make excuses. The only difference is that they can’t shut the door on the problem. Their lack of empathy affects someone who just wanted to fit in and belong.

Edward has an honest and gentle soul, more human than anyone wants to admit and his story is a tale of self-discovery. Despite being forced back into exile, Edward Scissorhands is bookended by elderly Kim who refuses to let him die, telling Edward’s story to her granddaughter. Edward’s Pinocchio-esque concept is realised. Empowered by Kim’s love he comes alive. He becomes real, guaranteeing that he lives forever.

Edward’s creativeness brought positivity to a suburban community well versed in the mundane. He brought individualism and escapism when others went around with a self-centred norm. Even though it didn’t last for long, it goes to show how someone can make an impact with the smallest of differences.

It still remains my favourite Johnny Depp performance, encapsulating a childlike innocence of someone who wants to be loved for who they are and not what they are. At the heart of it, Edward Scissorhands is an unconventional yet poetic Christmas film. It’s not a story designed to sell commercial gifts nor is it some forced whimsical exploration at saving Christmas. Often dark and slightly graphic, it escapes conformity by embracing a unique simplicity.

It’s a fantastical look into human nature with a lot of heart and soul. It forces us to re-assess how we view others in our communities who are different in the hope we may reach out in kindness rather than push away in fear. Christmas serves as the backdrop to bring the magical fairy tale to life.

You couldn’t ask for a better film than that.

Thanks, Kelechi! I have a bit of a confession to make myself: I haven’t seen this film. 😐 Now you might be asking yourself “Who did Kelechi invite to the party?” Well, it was the talented Idris Elba, of course!

Every party needs a suave, handsome guy and Elba fills the role perfectly. Great choice, Kelechi! Lover of all things Christmas, Allie from Often Off Topic, gives her own list of Christmas films she has for a very special person later today. You won’t want to miss it!

Until next time, cheers!