Film Review - Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Edward Scissorhands was a film that was made in 1990 and directed by Tim Burton. The production design was created by Bo Welch and the design of the film features a European style Gothic castle alongside a pastel American suburbia.
The way in which the sets are designed also works in relation to the main characters of the film and their differences in wardrobe and personalities. The main character, Edward is depicted wearing all black with pale skin and dark eyes and lips as shown in figure 1. This contrasts massively with the character design of the love interest, Kim who has blond, neat hair and delicate features.
Figure 1. Edward Scissorhands -Character Design (1990)

Edward Scissorhands uses the environments to show the differences between people and societies. The soft and pastel vibrance of the American suburbia works in relation to the sort of people living there who are very much the typical American families that the film industry usually depicts. The other main environment is the old, Gothic style castle where Edward lives which is shown in figure 2. The film uses atmosphere and colours to build up the world "with its Addams Family-style mansion plonked on the edge of a pastel-hued American suburb, where the husbands go to the office at exactly the same time, and the wives bake apple pies and gossip over the garden fence." (Lee, 2014) This use of characters and set design builds up a world which almost feels dreamlike with such a major contrast between colours and shapes.
Figure 2. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
The society is shown as the antagonist of the film as society is the thing that injures Edward and banishes him to the edge of the town, out of site and out of mind which can be seen in figure 3 when the mob has chased him out of town. "This makes him an excellent topiarist but a lonely and quizzical soul who is eventually taken off to the shining suburbs of whole humanity by Dianne Weist's shy but kindly Avon lady. She can't sell him cosmetics but she can 'normalise' him within her family" (Malcolm, 1991) This shows that all along society is pushing to make Edward 'normal' to fit in with their idealized member of American society. This is also an interesting aspect that the film explores as the characters only begin to negatively treat Edward when they see that he has scissors for hands and that he no longer fits in with their normalized standards.
Figure 3. Edward Scissorhands (1990)


Ebert,R. (1990) 'Edward Scissorhands Review' At: (Accessed 01/01/2017)

Lee,M (1990) 'Edward Scissorhands Review 'A True Fairytale' At: (Accessed 01/01/2017)

Malcolm,D. (1991) 'Edward Scissorhands Review' At:,,558617,00.html (Accessed 01/01/2017)


Figure 1. Edward Scissorhands. (1947) [Flim Still] At: (Accessed 11/01/2017)

Figure 2. Edward Scissorhands. (1947) [Flim Still] At: (Accessed 11/01/2017)

Figure 3. Edward Scissorhands. (1947) [Flim Still] At: (Accessed 1/01/2017)


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