Just recently my library started allowing movie rentals up to 4-6 weeks, (yes, wow) and so I've started regularly checking out movies, because I knew I'd be able to get them back on time. I was thrilled to come across Edward Scissorhands--I hadn't seen it in over ten years, and once I got home I popped it in.
SO different than what my childhood perception of it was. One element was the same--the kindness of Peg, and Edward's need to please, to love, and to be accepted. I love his character.
But one thing disturbed me--my nostalgic memory portrayed the story as something pure, and bittersweet--and to a great extent it is a strong underlying current. What I didn't remember was all the neighborhood dirtiness, portrayed by the women. They rather reminded me of the people of Sodom, only clad in 60's notstalgic sweetness and pastel colors. It got to me to almost hate it in a way--I disliked Joyce especially, the next-door whore with less class than a dung beetle.
But when I thought on it a bit, I realized that everything about the movie actually serves a very crucial point. It is essential, despite the distastefulness. Every good person, every...less likeable person...was part of a purpose.
Peg, the motherly heart that can't stand to alienate anyone, even when to some it would be obvious; her husband, the typical voice of paternal wisdom yet rather blank on those around him, the son who is just minds his own fun, and Kim, the child of the world caught up in her own time.
Then there is the Neighborhood. The neighborhood that functions like a cesspit of gossip, however innocent or trivial, it gets passed around, smeared on here and there. All the while smiling. All in good fun. And any new things, well--everyone wants a piece of it. Like something to be gobbled up for their own amusement--especially for Joyce, the ravaging machine incarnate.
From his forsaken loneliness Edward Scissorhands is taken into the world, embraced by Peg and her motherly love, and farcically taken in by the neighborhood with its sweet manners and simpering exterior. In his tenderness and desperate need for acceptance, he trims their hedges, he skewers their kabobs, he lends his creativity to their hairstyles and everything he can touch. Even though he bumbles through their customs, their rules, and struggles not to tear through the clothes they give him, hiding his own beneath.
Yet, easily, but the slightest thing, it can come tumbling down because the jealousies risen from something that cannot be corrupted, the Innocent is used, framed, cast out. Chased away like a monstrous beast, it's only real defender is the child of the world (Kim) who has recognized purity because it has stood alongside what she has, and she has realized the difference. Recognizing the preciousness, that purity, her own goodness reawakens to the beauty of it and causes her to confront what she once accepted. She craves what Edward represents.She's even beginning to love him.
It seems that the story is much of a commentary on the fact that humanity at its purest is only victimized by the world, ravaged, and cast out when it can't have its way with it. Even by the painted-pretty societies that pretend to be civilized and open-minded, backed by values that welcome in the lonesome wanderer. When in reality, they are still the savage wilderness, with a false face, waiting for the kill, with the rest of the animals.
And, perhaps, it is also a question to a mysterious maker to why He didn't give his creation the tools with which to fully make a difference in the world. Why, in the end, he was disarmed. He had so much to offer; but what perhaps made him special, also alienated him from the race he wanted to be part of. I think it is a truth, that perhaps our own humanity is alien to many of us. And to keep it safe, many hide it away, where although safe, its beauty and truth is concealed from where it will do good.
In the end, it is Kim who makes a sacrifice, along with Edward, who flees to solitary safety. Kim lies about Edward's death, and walks away so that he might survive, even within the cold stone walls of his old home, alone with his own creations. Far away from the eyes of the Neighborhood and the people in it. The only reason that the Kim knows Edward has survived, is because something as simple as snow still falls from the direction of the gated castle. She, and the neighborhood, are blessed with but a dusting of what they could have, as Edward Scissorhands tirelessly creates piece after piece of art, all in memory of the world he wanted, and the girl he loved. But away from everyone else, who were too blind to recognize what they could have had.
~ E. C. S.