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Edward Scissorhands

Movie review by
S. Jordan Mattos, Common Sense Media
Edward Scissorhands Movie Poster Image
Dark yet sweet underdog tale for older kids.
  • PG-13
  • 1990
  • 100 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 92 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

An inventive take on the ugly-duckling motif, Edward proves once again that real beauty is on the inside. Themes include compassion and curiosity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The neighbors are modern day witch-hunters, but the lead characters, including Edward and his foster family, are soft-spoken, friendly, and open to diversity.


Edward accidentally nips his face, then a little boy's. Edward is beaten with a stick repeatedly, and he stabs an attacker in the chest, causing him to fall out a window to his death. Mention of rape.


A woman wears figure-hugging outfits and attempts to seduce Edward. She is seen on top of Edward wearing a lace bra, using his scissors to cut off her clothes.


Only three occasions of suggestive talk, one expletive.


Mom is an Avon lady, but besides the focus on make-up and hair, film is brand-free.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Dad serves Edward a drink, after which Edward gets visibly drunk and sick.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 year old Written bylittleone522 March 19, 2011

Good for teens

I really like this movie and I think it is a great movie for the teens. It is not appropriate for the younger kids because of the language and adult talk such a... Continue reading
Parent of a 1, 9, and 11 year old Written byB H. March 30, 2015

Creepy Halloween movie isn't just seasonal

As a mother of tweens, I'm always on the lookout for what new movies are newly appropriate, and seized upon Edward Scissorhands as a great oldie for the fa... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byrobinrunner March 26, 2011

Cool for watching around Halloween but any other time of the year works too.

Edward Scissor hands is a tale of Romance, Action, and absolute horror (that kids 10 and up can handle). An assortment of of bad words are said. Sexual scenes... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 24, 2009

Possibly the perfect film! =D

I absolutely love this masterpiece by dark director Tim Burton. It has developed a cult following among older kids, and it remains a dark, romantic and deeply d... Continue reading

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?

  • How do the characters in Edward Scissorhands demonstrate curiosity and compassion? Why are these important character strengths?

  • Can you think of instances in real life when people have judged others based on their appearances?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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