Edward Scissorhands

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Yep, I'm catching up on my movie-going. I have to, with both Hamlet and Awakenings opening up on the same weekend here next month!

Anyway, Leslie and I went to see Edward Scissorhands today, the modern fable about the manufactured boy with scissors for hands. It was a fine movie, made with intelligence and wit. Tim Burton scores another winner. It won't make nearly the money that Batman did, but at least Batman gave him the clout to continue making off-beat films like Edward.

Like all the other Burton movies, the film dances between the real world and someplace else entirely. The "real world" here has the look and feel of California in the mid-60s. Peg, the friendly Avon lady, played by Diane Wiest with just the right amount of Girl Scout, finds Edward, abandoned, in a creepy old castle surrounded by wonderful topiary. She takes Edward home, and, in the tradition of Chance, the gardener from Being There, he agrees. Edward is played by Johnny Depp, and he gives a marvelous performance, balancing his need for love against the fact he's been left alone for much of his life. Like most movies of this type, the "alien" has the biggest heart, and displays the most humanity.

The supporting cast is kind of a "Greek Chorus" to the proceedings, and act in concert throughout the movie. Most of the supporting cast, led ably by Kathy Baker and Conchetta Ferrell, are bored 1960s housewives who spend their time entrenched in one another's lives. Other members of the cast include Alan Arkin as Bill, the archetypal 1960s Dad, and Anthony Michael Hall (remember when he was the skinny dweeb back in 16 Candles?) as Kim's menacing boyfriend.

Kim is played by Winona Ryder, Peg & Bill's all-American daughter. She is horrified by Edward at first, but eventually becomes his friend. Ryder is literally transformed in this movie, from being a vacuous teenager early in the movie to taking enormous risks for Edward by the end of the film.

When you go see this movie, remember that it is a fairy tale, like "Beauty and the Beast." Tim Burton makes his points about humanity and isolation without beating you over the head with them. This is one of the best movies I've seen this year.

Kid rating---Leslie [age 10] hid at some of the parts where she felt Edward was going to be embarrassed (you can see most of these moments coming). The language was a little strong at times, and there were some fights but no gore. The movie may be a little slow for kids who need action to keep them interested in a film.