EDWARD SCISSORHANDS portrays an innocent, pre-lapsarian Adam who struggles to adjust to a fallen world with its greed, lust, and hate. As producer Denise Di Novi suggests: “It’s sort of an acceptance of the fact that you sometimes have to figure out another way to be who you are.”
As the film opens, the camera pans the neat rows of tiny, cookie-cutter houses in uniform, nameless suburbia (never-never land) and rests on one in which an old lady tells her little granddaughter a bedtime story. The story, of course, deals with Edward Scissorhands, his creation and near-fall from innocence. Thus, the tale begins….
When Avon lady Peg Boggs makes her rounds, she includes Edward’s gloomy, dilapidated mansion high above the other houses and persuades Edward to come live with her and her family in suburbia. Edward’s creator died before he could give Edward hands, so he makes do with his scissorhands. The fun starts when Edward inadvertently pokes holes in the water bed, tries to manage a fork and opens up cans without an opener.
Meanwhile, Peg throws a barbecue so her nosy neighbors can meet Scissorhands, who, in his guileless inexperience, turns out to be the life-of-the-party. One of the men confides to Edward: “Everyone has a handicap; I, too, have an infirmity.” The men invite Edward to join their weekly card game, but warn him against cutting the deck.
Edward’s fame and versatility spread as he sculptures shrubbery into fantastic shapes like dinosaurs, gives neighborhood dogs a trim and cuts the ladies’ hair in creative styles. Soon, he stars in a “This-is-your-life” type of TV program. Peg tells the audience: “If he had hands, he’d be like everyone else, and he wouldn’t be special.” Edward also wows Kevin’s (Peg’s son) with his wizardry in a “Show and Tell” class.
When Peg’s neighbor tries to seduce Edward, an ominous shadow is cast. Peg’s daughter, Kim, and her boyfriend, Jim, also take advantage of Edward’s expertise in picking locks and involve him in a theft at Jim’s house. The only thief the police catch later is poor Edward, who takes the rap for the others.
In court, a psychiatrist observes that years in isolation have affected Edward and that his imagination is highly developed–but that he can function in society. At dinner, Peg’s husband tries to teach Edward about ethics, asks him what he would do if he found a satchel of money and gives him three choices. Edward chooses to give the money to loved ones instead of turning it over to the police. Through such episodes, we come to understand that Edward, in his innocence, is all heart, and it never occurs to him to do evil.
Because of the theft, and, according to the would-be-seductress, attempted rape, neighborhood sentiment turns against Edward. When the neighbors and police chase him, he flees to the safety of his mansion.
While EDWARD SCISSORHANDS is an interesting, funny film with a lively, imaginative plot, it also offers a subtle commentary on the human race: innocents need not apply because experience and discernment between good and evil are required. As the Bible wisely counsels: “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” If only the violence, blatent sexual innuendoes and foul language had been cut from EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, it would have been better suited to the most viewers’ schedules.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please address your comments to:
Mr. Barry Diller
20th Century Fox
P.O. Box 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90213
Roughly 10 obscenities, profanities; sexual innuendoes; violence; drinking; and, breaking and entering.