In the fall of 1999, I felt like the last person on Earth to see The Sixth Sense. With the multiplex charging a ghastly five bucks per ticket, my dad said he would take me to see it, when it came to the cheap theater that showed movies after the big theaters had moved on. It was a long time to wait. Worst of all, I knew there was a big twist and I’d be damned if anyone spoiled it for me. I remember covering my ears and humming every time the film came up in conversation. Thanks to the abundance of information speeding through our various internets, it’s nearly impossible today for a film lover to go spoiler-free for months on the latest Shyamalan twist ending. Thankfully there weren’t as many pitfalls twelve years ago and when I finally got to see The Sixth Sense in the cheap theater, nothing was tarnished, which made it better than I imagined.
Child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), feels that he has failed an old client, now a disturbed adult. He sees the same conditions within young Cole (Haley Joel Osment), who is carrying a dark secret. The boy can see and communicate with the dead, who seem to seek him out for his rare, unwanted gift. As Malcolm begins to believe Cole, he advises the boy to help the ghosts, rather than run in fear, leaving them to pursue him.
Osment’s performance rules the film and earned him an Oscar nomination at age eleven. He makes us understand that while Cole is just a kid, he is very intelligent. In an early scene where he describes how he got in trouble for a disturbing drawing at school, he explains how he now tries to blend in despite his ideas, “ They don’t have meetings about rainbows.” He realizes he’s an outcast at school, and even fears that his mom will one day think he is a freak as well. This gift, or curse, has secluded Cole and given him an unusual outlook on life and when that is added to the stress of his broken family. And for a young child to portray these complicated ideas so well is one of the best things about this film.
Notice how I didn’t give anything away? I know it can be hard to do, but let’s keep it that way. Seriously readers, there are way too many spoilers out there. Just because a film has some age, or the plots have already been spoiled and spoofed in countless ways doesn’t mean they need to be exposed on every movie blog in the universe.
The Sixth Sense is fun to watch over and over, especially with someone who has had no exposure to the spoilers. Though there are a few jump-moments, this isn’t that kind of scary movie. There’s a wonderful tension present throughout most of the film, not just the ghost scenes. For those who’ve seen the film before, it’s fun to watch again and figure out the significance about when the color red is used. And I think this a great film that new generations can enjoy, if we let them. I hate to think what a warped childhood some of us must have had not being shocked at all by the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
“I’m ready to communicate with you now.”