Edward Scissorhands is an American film directed by Tim Burton, released in 1990. It mixes several cinematographic genres, fantasy, romantic drama, and comedy, and tells the story of a young man, Edward, created by an inventor but left unfinished and who has scissors instead of hands. Edward is taken in by Peg Boggs and falls in love with her daughter, Kim, as the residents of the residential suburb where he now lives first welcome him warmly before turning against him. Johnny Depp, whose first collaboration with Burton, plays the title role of Edward. The main cast also includes Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Alan Arkin, Kathy Baker, and Anthony Michael Hall. The film also marks Vincent Price’s last film appearance. The film launched Depp’s career and definitively connected Burton with the Gothic movement.
The ending of Edward Scissorhands might be a bit confusing for people, which is why we decided to explain what actually happened in the end of the movie. We are going to analyze the narrative elements of the story, as well as the meaning of the final scene, and how it all explains Edward’s character, his relationship with Kim, and the story’s ending.
What happens in Edward Scissorhands?
An elderly lady tells her granddaughter the story of Edward Scissorhands, an artificial boy who has scissors instead of hands. His inventor was a very determined scientist who died shortly before he could complete Edward. In the 1950s, long after Edward’s creation, Avon cosmetics rep Peggy Boggs visits the hilltop Gothic mansion in the city, where she finds Edward all alone and isolated.
Realizing that the sharp-fingered being is harmless, Peggy decides to take him to her home in the radiant town where she lives. Despite the contrast of Edward’s dark and intimidating appearance with the colorful people of the neighborhood, he forms a sincere friendship with Peggy’s youngest son, Kevin, and husband Bill. Among other things, Edward falls madly in love with Kim, Peggy’s teenage daughter, despite Kim’s initial terror for him.
The other inhabitants of the Peggy neighborhood are impressed by Edward, who proves to be very skilled in creating plant sculptures with bushes using the long blades he has instead of his hands; later Edward will also apply this talent to create amazing haircuts for the neighbors. Thus a feeling of trust and sympathy arises in the whole neighborhood towards Edward, except for two individuals: the religious fanatic Esmeralda (convinced that Edward is the devil), and Jim, Kim’s arrogant and overbearing boyfriend.
Joyce Monroe, Peggy’s snobbish neighbor, wants to make money by exploiting Edward’s talent, proposing to him to open a beauty salon together where he will apply his skills, even going so far as to try to sexually seduce Edward, who runs away from her in a state of shock. Meanwhile, Jim, eager to buy a new van, takes advantage of Edward by making him open the locks on the doors of his parents’ villa with his blades, but triggers the alarm and runs away abandoning Edward, who is unjustly accused of theft and arrested.
Kim is the only one who objects, wanting to help Edward, but she is forcibly taken away by Jim. Peggy manages to get him out of jail after a psychological examination revealed that Edward, due to the long isolation from the society in which he lived, lives without a real sense of reality and logical thinking, and without the help of someone not he was able to clearly distinguish the difference between good and evil.
Meanwhile, furious at Edward’s rejection, Joyce unfairly accuses him of attempted rape against her. This strong accusation, coupled with Esmeralda’s arrest for theft and constant slander, ruins Edward’s reputation throughout the neighborhood. During the Christmas season, Edward is rejected and shunned by everyone except the Boggs family, who consequently become frowned upon by the neighborhood. Kim thanks Edward for not telling the police about them and apologizes for what happened.
To his surprise, Edward admits that he knew that this was Jim’s house and that he hadn’t said anything because she had asked for help. While they prepare the decorations, Edward begins to sculpt the ice statue of an angel and, with each quick blow of the blade, produces a jet of snowflakes, under which Kim begins to dance in fascination. Suddenly Jim calls her out loud and Kim, whirling around, scratches her hand with Edward’s blades.
Jim unfairly takes it out on Edward, claiming that he intentionally injured the girl. Offended, Edward runs off tearing off the clothes they had given him, wandering around the raging neighborhood, and destroying his works. This attracts the attention of the neighbors who, frightened, call the police. Kim, angry at the way Jim treats Edward, breaks her engagement with him.
While Kim seeks treatment from her mother, Peggy admits that she regrets bringing Edward into the crowd and thinks the best thing for Edward is for him to go back to his house at the castle, as he will never be accepted due to the town’s respectable mentality. While Peggy and Bill go out to look for him, Edward returns home to Kim, and she hugs him, glad he’s okay.
Jim, infuriated by Kim’s broken engagement, can’t stand the idea of her leaving him and decides to go back. Suddenly Edward, to prevent Jim from investing Kevin, who was returning from a friend’s house, jumps on the boy to push him to safety and, unwittingly, cuts him slightly in the face. However, the neighbors, who witnessed the scene, are convinced that Edward attacked the child.
To make matters worse it is Jim, who pounces on Edward, knocking him to the ground; the latter, to free himself, wounds him in the shoulder. The police arrive and Edward escapes, taking refuge in his castle. The policeman who assisted him in prison, understanding his state and realizing that it wasn’t his fault, decides to let him go, firing shots to simulate killing him and telling people to leave. However, the neighborhood does not listen to him, and he breaks into the gardens of the castle.
How does Edward Scissorhands end?
Edward takes refuge in his mansion and discovers that Kim has followed him. Jim also reaches Edward’s house and attacks him with a gun. Due to his mild nature, Edward is unable to react, and only after Jim pushes away Kim, who was trying to defend him, does he react instinctively and mortally impales him by pushing him out of a villa window under the eyes of the neighborhood, which meanwhile he had caught up with them.
Kim confesses to Edward the love she has for him and leaves after kissing him goodbye. After taking a spare part of Edward, Kim shows it to the neighbors, telling them that Edward died from the collapse of the roof and that the two boys killed each other. The neighbors, dazzled and even saddened by the news, leave the villa and return home.
The old lady who told her story to her granddaughter turns out to be Kim, and she finishes her tale by saying that she has never seen Edward again since. She also states that she decided not to visit him by returning to the mansion (as Edward appears to be immortal due to his artificial nature) preferring that Edward remember her with her youthful appearance of hers.
But she adds that, since his disappearance, snow falls in the neighborhood every Christmas, something that never happened before. In fact it is Edward, identical to then in appearance, who makes it snow by sculpting ice statues every winter, and is shown sculpting passionately, seeing the young Kim dance, in the last, touching, scene of the film.
Why does it snow at the end of Edward Scissorhands?
If you remember the ending of the movie, you also remember that the ending is both very symbolic and very sad. Namely, Edward Scissorhands was shunned by the community for being different, which is the overall metaphor of this movie that Burton, as he always does, managed to portray brilliantly. But that is the overall symbolism of the movie and does not reflect the ending’s sad note, not necessarily, that is.
Namely, the movie’s ending is not sad because Edward was isolated by the community; that is why the movie is sad, but the ending is sad because of Edward’s sad fate. Edward, a non-human being, was destined to live out the rest of his life in the same state, never aging, always remembering the emotions he had towards Kim. He recreates the scenes he had experienced, but will never experience again.
The pain he feels is because he could not live out his life with Kim, whom he loved, so he used ice – a symbol of coldness and solitude – to recreate the painful memories. The town got snow, while Edward only got more pain. Kim was aware of that, but in order to preserve Edward’s fond memories of her as a young girl that loved him, she opted to never see him again.
Maybe it was for the best, yours truly is not really certain about it, but it is a sad and heartbreaking ending that no one in the movie deserved.