Edward Scissorhands is by no means a subtle film, which is what repelled me from it upon first viewing. I find Tim Burton's heavy-handed messages about conformity and conversely non-conformity to be facile, but this film's emotional core is infectiously sincere. For me it's a film about the lasting effects of compassion. Throughout the film, we see characters transcend the pre-programmed apathy that permeates the societies they belong to and perform acts of kindness. But these acts, like Edward himself, are incomplete. But they make profound impressions on those on the receiving end.
The professor, as we see in flashbacks created Edward out of love, and intended to "finish him" by replacing his scissorhands with human hands, but dies before he can perform the operation. For years, this is the only love Edward has ever known. That is until Peg takes the hermit under her wing, providing him with a home and a family out of sympathy. Her plans to informally adopt Edward are thwarted by his inevitable banishment from the town, but Edward, for the first time, is part of a family.
Edward falls in love with Kim at first sight and even takes the blame for a crime he was only an accessory to, just to protect her.She severs her ties with her abusive boyfriend, after the purity of Edward's love leads her to discover her own self worth and the depths of true love. She requites his love, but it is too late. Edward is banished to his mansion. However, their short-lived love affair leaves an indelible mark on both of them. Kim, now an old woman, is in what we can infer is a passionless marriage and recalls Edward wistfully, still dancing in the snow he creates. And Edward, as we see in the film's final moments, still carves ice sculptures of Kim, decades after they met.
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