A few days ago my new housemate* and I were discussing movies that we both loved, in particular Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) and how the remake missed the mark on the message that the Gene version gave kids. When asked what other movies were his favourites he said Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands – now I had never seen it and he seemed a little outraged calling it ‘blasphemy’ that I hadn’t. So last night I watched this movie and two things happened that I did not expect.
- My heart broke for Edward; and
- I cried
I NEVER CRY WITH MOVIES – EVEN SOME OF THE GREAT TEAR JURKERS WON’T SHED A TEAR FOR ME.
And this morning I got to thinking why would this movie make me cry? I think I know why this movie breaks my heart.
Edward is a man who has scissors for hands is brought to town by Peg (a well-meaning lady who wants to help him). She tries and hides him from the neighbourhood (which is distinctly like Desperate Housewives style) because she is afraid of what they will say about him. She is surprised that when a BBQ happens that they are all ok with it and use his hands as an asset in a prospective business venture. However when the plan turns sour it goes from bad to worse for Edward.
In the end Edward is chased back up the mountain to live in the castle on his own, always to be looked upon as a freak. Kim, the girl that he has fallen in love with said her goodbyes and lies to the townsfolk to keep him safe and left alone.
Why it breaks my heart?
Because it is essentially about a man with a disability getting treated normally and then when he does something moral and right, he gets ostersized by the community, called names like “cripple” and “freak” and made to feel that this is all his fault. Something I can personally identify with.
It is a sad story about how disabilities are still viewed as abnormal and should be feared. Although this movie was made in 1990 it still is somewhat true in the freak-show message that some people still experience today.
* Since before my science nerd confession I have moved out of a student residence and am now sharing in a house, yay me for interdependency.