An ageing inventor (played by Vincent Price) lives in the dark, dilapidated mansion high on the hill above town. He spends his days creating beings who are near human, with curious not-so-human features. He is most proud of Edward (by Johnny Depp), who has the entire body of a man, except he has razor-sharp blades where his hands should be. Edward has spent his entire life with the inventor behind the high walls of the mansion. In fact, he doesn’t really understand why the inventor has gone sleep on the floor and not yet woken up. One day, the town’s well-meaning Avon Lady, Peg (by Dianne Wiest) calls. She discovers Edward on his own and takes him into her care. He soon settles in with her welcoming family – and loses his heart to their teenage girl Kim (by Winona Ryder) … but she thinks he’s a nerd. The curious neighbours also take Edward into their lives and soon he is using his blades for his favourite pastime of tree topiary. He also learns he can trim pets and cut hair too. Apart from his unrequited love for Kim, the world becomes a much happier place for Edward, until local teenagers decide to take advantage of him, which lands him in a whole heap of trouble. Peg starts to wonder … was bringing Edward out of his secluded but safe world, the best thing for him?
This is a lovely movie – and not what I was expecting. I thought it would be far more about horror and darkness than it is. It is a beautifully made fairytale with over-accentuated scenes, colours and characters. It would have been such a delight to be part of this production. I’m sure the performers had a marvellous time playing these people – Kathy Baker and Dianne Wiest are particularly good. It comes as no surprise that the production was nominated for Best Makeup in the 1991 Academy Awards (Oscars). Johnny Depp produces a marvellous performance where his facial expressions, gestures and body movement are so poignant they render his sparse dialogue virtually redundant. Very enjoyable.
Made in 1990. Directed by Tim Burton.