mauldin8302’s review published on Letterboxd :
This is such a great movie with its stark contrasts and dark themes. It is perfect Tim Burton. This was Johnny Depp before his downward slide. I hadn't seen this film in years and thought it would be a good watch for a family movie night. I had forgotten quite how dark it is.
I'm not sure how he did it, but Burton managed to make a beautiful allegory of an autistic man and his attempts to integrate into a harsh society. This was before anyone had published any works on or formally studied autism. I can only think that Tim Burton either is or is very close to someone who suffers on the spectrum. Let's think about it...
He is very mechanical and somewhat cold in his interactions with people. The inventor teaches him social etiquette and encourages him to smile. He shows particular skill which astounds others similar to a savant. Despite his best efforts he hurts others and those mistakes haunt him like scars. He has an amazing capacity to love but society pushes him away because of his differences.
It really is an amazing story, but I've always felt like the characters are overly exaggerated and with this allegory in mind it makes sense. The characters are as Edward sees them, brightly colored symbols of the things that he cannot be. He expresses the desire several times through the film to be introduced to this absent doctor whom people are sure could help him. He wants to be a part of society but like the dark castle on top of the hill all he can do is sit in his childlike state and look out over the world wishing he could join them but forever trapped by the society them at the same time.
We are encouraged to be like the Boggs who loved Edward for who he was. They embraced his differences and loved him for who he was, and their world was forever changed because of him.
I'm sure I'm stretching this a bit, but I can't help but think of Tim Burton placing himself in Edward's shoes as he makes this film as a brilliant creative man who would be misunderstood.