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The Sixth Sense

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie For the 1970s television series, see The Sixth Sense (TV series).


The Sixth Sense (1999) is a film that tells the fictional story of a troubled, isolated boy (played by Haley Joel Osment) and a child psychologist (played by Bruce Willis) who tries to help him. It was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and helped propel him to stardom.

The movie was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Haley Joel Osment), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Toni Collette, who played Osment's mother) and Best Director (M. Night Shyamalan, who also wrote the story).

Plot

Bruce Willis stars as a loving but childless husband named Malcolm Crowe, a devoted and award-winning child psychologist. Crowe is shot early on in the film by former patient Vincent Gray (Donnie Wahlberg), who then commits suicide. Crowe, filled with guilt and puzzled as to how he might have "failed" Vincent, pores over his old notes and audio tapes of sessions conducted when Vincent was a boy.

While Crowe is researching this old case, he and his wife appear to grow increasingly distant from each other. He also picks up a new patient, Cole Sear (played by Haley Joel Osment), a boy whose case gradually begins to provide Dr. Crowe with insight on Vincent's problem.

We initially see Cole and his mother (a single mother), who lead a difficult life (for one, they are of a lower socioeconomic status than Crowe and his wife) with some paranormal occurrences occurring throughout the movie, centered around Cole.

Concurrently, Crowe tries to aid Cole, but fails. "I draw people smiling, dogs running, rainbows,... They don't have meetings about rainbows", Cole says, about him drawing the picture of a man getting attacked in the neck by another with a screwdriver at school. Cole tells Crowe, "You're nice, but you can't help me."

At school, Cole is an outcast. In one memorable scene, where his teacher asks a question about the previous nature of the schoolhouse, Cole corrects the teacher (Cole has some insight which is gradually revealed throughout the movie), who initially dismisses Cole, but Cole gradually becomes more insistent, shouting at the end of the scene "STUTTERING STANLEY!" over and over, which clearly distresses the teacher. On viewing this, one must wonder how Cole knew how to rattle the teacher so much, and how he knew that the schoolhouse was used for hanging people, instead of being a courthouse. The enraged teacher thumps his hand on Cole's desk, telling him to "Shut up, you f-f-freak!"

Crowe and his wife appear to be growing more and more distant. They hardly speak to each other, and seem to be going about their lives separately, but in the same house, with a wistful sadness.

Cole however, is invited to a schoolmate's birthday, to a large house, with many children. A balloon drifts away, and Cole decides to find it. But on following it, he hears phrases such as "I swear I will break through this door", "Open this door, I can't breathe in here", coming from a small room at the top of the staircase, with the door clearly open. Some bullies follow him up the stairs, and decide to stuff him in the small room. He becomes very distraught, screaming and shouting, yet the children and their parents do nothing to help him.

Cole is in the hospital after his traumatic experience. Crowe attempts to tell a bedtime story, but on Cole's prompting to tell him "why he is sad", he pours his heart out about the victim and his growing distance from his wife and how he met Cole.

Cole decides to tell Crowe his secret:

Cole: I see dead people...
Crowe: In your dreams?
Cole shakes his head
Crowe: While you're awake?
Cole nods
Crowe: Dead people like in graves and coffins?
Cole: ...They don't know they're dead
Crowe: How often do you see them?
Cole: all the time, (pause) they're everywhere...

Crowe however, believes Cole's mental condition is even more severe than he has earlier thought.

Cole is taken home by his mother, who finds numerous scratches on his body. His mother is distraught; believing that the bullies hurt Cole, she telephones the mother of one of the bullies and complains.

Later that night, Cole awakens, clearly needs to go to the bathroom, and runs to the toilet. The temperature drops suddenly, and we see a woman walk past. The lights in the kitchen are on. A woman with cuts on her wrists screams, "No, dinner is not ready!" and "You can't hurt me any more!", "Lenny, you're a terrible husband! Look what you made me do!". Cole runs, frightened, into a little cubby he has constructed in the apartment, filled with religious statues.

Cole, after seeing the school play, walks with Crowe, but suddenly he stops in his tracks. He sees three people, hanging from nooses. Crowe says he sees nothing, but Cole tells him "You ever feel the prickly things on the back of your neck? And the tiny hairs on your arm, when they stand up? That's them."

Later, Cole and his mother have a disagreement about his grandmother's bumblebee pendant which has moved its location. Cole's mother believes that Cole moves the pendant, but Cole denies it. His mother gets upset and tells him to go to his room. He starts off, but a kid spontaneously appears, who invites Cole to see his father's gun. When the boy turns away, we see the back of his head has a severe gunshot wound.

Crowe's situation with his wife has reached a culmination. Believing Cole is severely disturbed and that he cannot help Cole, Crowe tells Cole that he can't be his doctor any more and says that he'll transfer Cole to another doctor. Cole knows that Crowe does not believe him.

Crowe returns to analyzing Vincent's session tapes. Crowe listens closely and realises a similarity to Cole's description of when he sees the dead people. Crowe listens to the recorded silence from when Crowe had left Vincent alone; he hears the dead people. Crowe realises that Cole was telling the truth.

Crowe returns to Cole and asks him what he thinks the dead people want, that he believes that the dead people want Cole to help them. Crowe suggests that he tries to help them, in order to make them go away, finishing their last tasks on earth, allowing them to finally move on.

So, the following night, Cole is woken by his mother's cries; she is having a nightmare. Cole then encounters another dead person; this time, a sick girl who is vomiting appears in his cubby. Initially frightened, he runs away, but returns. The girl, finished being sick, says "I'm feeling much better now". Cole tentatively asks the girl if she has something that she wants to tell him.

The next day, Cole is on a bus, talking to Crowe about the previous night. They arrive at a funeral in the suburbs, where mourners are passing. Cole notices the dead girl's younger sister, mournfully sitting on a swing. In the house, Cole and Crowe make their way up to the girl Kyra's room, where they find several dolls and many videotapes. The apparition of the girl returns, and she pushes him a box. Cole presents the box to Kyra's father, saying, "It's for you. She wanted to tell you something". Her father opens the box. In it is a videotape. He watches what is recorded on the videotape and shows the whole of the congregation a recording of a puppet play with the girl's dolls. The girl's mother arrives, causing the girl to quickly hide, leaving the tape still recording and showing the girl's mother, mixing some sort of poison into her soup (presumably causing or prolonging the girl's illness).

Her mother was presumably suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Cole is much happier now, and is much more at ease with talking to the dead people, and is on better grounds with his teacher Stanley. Cole acts in another school play, as the lead role of King Arthur.

Cole and Crowe talk again. Cole lets him know that he may be able to talk to his wife when she is asleep. Cole also says that "he's not going to see him [Crowe] again", suggesting that his problems and need for Crowe in his life are over.

On the way home, Cole and his mother are in a car, but there is a traffic jam. Cole tells his mother that he is "ready to communicate" with her now. He tells his mother that someone got hurt in the accident. "A lady, she died...she's standing next to my window". He tells his mother the whole story. He adds "Grandma says hi, and she's sorry for taking the bumblebee pendant".

He tells her that her mother saw her dance at her dance recital when she was younger. They had a fight before the recital and that she thought her mother didn't come to watch her. But, she sat in the back row, and she saw. He adds that at her grave, she asked a question, and the answer is "Every day" - the question being whether she makes her mother proud.

Crowe returns to his house. Anna is sleeping on the couch. He tries to start "Anna", and she says "I miss you". She asks why did he leave her, and he says he didn't leave her, and his wedding ring falls to the ground and rolls away. Crowe begins to recall that Cole told him, that dead people "only see what they want to see...they don't know they're dead". Crowe walks about his house, and finally he realizes: he himself is a dead person. We flash back to Crowe's murder, and we now see the blood from his exit wound and that it is much more severe than we originally were led to believe.

He tells Anna that he thinks he can "go now", and that he needed to help someone, and that he thinks he did, and that he needed to tell her that she was never second, and that he loves her.

The screen fades to white for a few seconds (the "white light" of heaven?) and returns to the shot of Malcolm and Anna kissing at their wedding.

External links

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