I was not prepared for the wave of emotion that hit me at 1:00 a.m. last night at the end of this movie. Wow, I love this movie.
It is still mind-boggling whenever I take a look at M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography and see how many awful movies he has directed that juxtapose some of the classics he has made such as Signs, which I reviewed earlier this month, and The Sixth Sense, which I am about to review.
This movie stars Bruce Willis as a child psychologist named Malcolm Crowe who attempts to help nine-year-old, Cole Sear, played by Haley Joel Osment. Cole struggles with social anxiety and paranoia due to the trauma he experienced earlier in life with his now absentee father. To add on to Cole’s daily struggles, he can also see “dead people” who haunt him.
Cole, eventually, confides his secret to Malcolm in which Malcolm believes that Cole is delusional and tries to leave him. However, Malcolm listens to an old audiotape of one of his patients that makes him change his mind to believe Cole. He tells Cole to find a purpose with this ability to communicate with ghosts, which results in one of the most shocking twist endings in film history.
The performances in this movie are immaculate. I could feel each character’s emotion through every word delivered. There were scenes, in particular, where I was floored and could not help but burst into tears. Toni Collette, who plays the mother in the 2018 film, Hereditary, plays Cole’s mother in this film and you can see the similarities of the mother/son dynamic in both films. One of the two scenes that broke me was at the end when Cole reveals to her mother that he can see and talk to ghosts. At first, she does not believe him at all until he brings up her mother and how her mother did something that she did not know about, which was just so beautiful but gut-wrenching to watch at the same time.
Now, the big twist.
This is a massive spoiler but I have to get into it because this movie is incredibly popular and the twist is common knowledge. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE, DO NOT CONTINUE ANY FURTHER. This is like the stop sign for you on an SAT test.
Here we go.
The opening scene of the movie sees Malcolm getting shot by a former patient of his who says that Malcolm failed him. The movie fades to black before we learn his fate but we see him the next year so we assume that all is good and he has recovered. The subplot of the film involves Malcolm trying to win his wife back because he believes that she feels neglected by his work with Cole.
In the final scene, Malcolm sees his wife asleep on the couch with footage of their wedding playing on the TV. This footage plays multiple times throughout the film without explanation. Malcolm sees a wedding ring fall and rolls towards him but he notices that his wife is wearing her ring. Malcolm looks at his ringless hand and discovers the fact that he is actually dead.
I knew there was a crazy twist with this film but I never knew what it was until last night. The flood gates opened for me and I was a complete mess once the credits played.
As a man of Christian faith, I, to the fullest extent, believe in the afterlife and the existence of spirits roaming the natural world. The way I see it, when people die suddenly, such as by gunshot wound, they can become trapped on Earth because they are either in denial about their death or they have not found the closure they wanted to that gives them the peace of mind to move on.
When Malcolm failed the patient that killed him, he had the goal in mind to not fail the next one. So when he helps Cole and his situation, he is unknowingly finding the closure he needs to move on to the next phase of the afterlife, wherever it may be.
As this month rolls on, I cannot believe all of the movies I have slept on for so long. The Sixth Sense will hold a special place in me for a long time and I will come back to this movie frequently.
Thanks for reading this review and be on the lookout for a double-header sometime this weekend.