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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is sporadic violence in Edward Scissorhands. Aside from a woman attempting to seduce Edward wearing a lace bra (she mounts Edward while he is on a chair and attempts to use his scissors to cut off her clothes), sexuality is limited to courting rituals (kissing and hugging). Some of the garish set pieces, like Edward's haunted mansion, and the title character, with mean-looking, scissors for fingers, may be terrifying for young children. There is a mention of rape.
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What's the story?
In EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) is a down-on-her-luck Avon representative shopping around her small, sunny neighborhood for prospective clients. When skewered resources force her to pay a visit to the local haunted house, she meets Edward (Johnny Depp), a recluse living in the attic who shyly appears in a zany 80s punk bouffant and leather getup, with scissors for hands. When the matronly Peg adopts Edward and brings him home for dinner, the whole family must deal with the razor-sharp consequences of Edward's scissorhands; most notably Kim (Winona Ryder), the doe-eyed daughter who becomes Edward's object of affection. At first, the townies welcome Edward with patronizing curiosity, but, after he rejects the advances of the neighborhood hussy, the town shows its true colors. Edward proceeds to get caught at the wrong place at the wrong time and is pursued by the police. Cornered, he is forced to make a choice between staying with the girl of his dreams or returning to his dark palace alone.
Is it any good?
The film, lovingly directed by Tim Burton, is a darkly sweet (self) portrait of adolescent angst. We can all relate on some level to Edward's social awkwardness, and Depp's deer-in-headlights self-consciousness is adoring enough to soften the sharpest of pointed appendages. The pastel-colored township cuts a drastic figure against Edward's looming mansion in the distance. Like the best of David Lynch, Edward Scissorhands exposes the cynical underbelly of front porch Americana, forcing us to find beauty and truth in the grotesque when we allow what is "good" to run more than skin-deep.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Edward Scissorhands is an "Ugly Duckling" fable about a misunderstood, soft-spoken underdog who doesn't fit the cookie cutter mold.
What's "normal"? How does conformity play a role in the townspeople's treatment of Edward?
Can you think of instances in real life when people have judged others based on their appearances?
- In theaters: December 7, 1990
- On DVD or streaming: November 5, 2000
- Cast: Dianne Wiest, Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder
- Director: Tim Burton
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Fantasy
- Character strengths: Compassion, Curiosity
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, brief language and sexuality.
- Last updated: June 24, 2020
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