The Gentle Monster

Movie Poster For 'Edward Scissorhands'

I’m watching Elfman: Tim Burton Film Music on Live From Lincoln Center. When they got to Edward Scissorhands, I was struck anew by the simple purity and tragedy of that story. (And isn’t that so like Tim Burton? A simple, heartfelt tale dressed up in baroque fantastical imagery?)  The foundation of every good protagonist is frustrated desire.  What does he or she want? And why can’t they get it? Edward wants love.  He wants so deeply to be loved by everyone.  And why can’t he get it? Because he is a monster, an unfinished creature gentle by nature yet destructive through no fault of his own. I think we can all relate to that.  We want love, yet we are flawed.  We are unfinished.  We reach out to touch and hurt those we care about. And the sadness of the end is, I believe, something we all fear, that our loved ones will only be safe far away from us.

Of course, our lives aren’t fairytales.  They’re much more complex, and, in many ways, much more beautiful.  We can give and receive forgiveness and mercy to and from those we love, because we are all flawed. We all hurt each other and ourselves. And we all heal each other and ourselves.  We don’t need to be banished, because we are needed here, in the world, to give and receive love.

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