Edward Scissorhands (1990) – Ace Mini-Review

Edward Scissorhands
Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest
Written by: Tim Burton, Caroline Thompson
Directed by: Tim Burton
U.S.A., 1990

How good is this movie?

A modern fairy story, in which the mad scientist’s creation becomes the ingénue and middle-class suburbia becomes monstrous. I like the visual style, from the beautiful decaying castle to the bright pastel houses. And, of course, Edward himself is loveable.

How ace is this movie?

Edward is very much an outsider among so-called “normal” people. We are told that he has a heart, a brain, and everything else that a person has, but he doesn’t have hands. This “lack” might be considered an asset, as Edward uses his prosthetic hands to create beautiful works of art, but it still marks him as freakish and makes him an object of fear. Throughout the film, people keep offering to introduce Edward to doctors who can “help” him – their tacit assumption being that Edward sees himself as incomplete and would be happier if he could be like everyone else. Edward is also naïve about many things. He does not understand the trappings of middle-class life, he needs to be told the importance of money, and no one will talk to him about sex. Edward’s sexual naïveté in particular may come off as ace. While he is fetishised by the women around him, he rejects their advances, and he responds with fear and confusion to Joyce’s attempted seduction. However, Edward need not be asexual to be sexually awkward or resentful of sexual harassment. His reaction to seeing Kim’s picture suggests that he is in fact capable of love at first sight, and he spends most of the movie pining for her. While he avoids making explicitly sexual advances to her, it seems to be because of shyness rather than lack of interest. The most touching moment in the film comes when Kim asks Edward to hold her. His response is, “I can’t”, but Kim shows him that he can. Although they are ultimately separated, they share a kiss before they part, and he continues to commemorate her in his ice sculptures. Edward is thus able to show his love for Kim, even if he sometimes does so in unconventional ways. This could be read as a metaphor for asexuality, but it could also stand for a lot of other things.

3 Stars; 3 Aces


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