The Plot of the Movie "The Sixth Sense"

by Allison Horky
Haley Joel Osment was nominated for an Academy Award for

Haley Joel Osment was nominated for an Academy Award for "The Sixth Sense."

David McNew/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

1999's "The Sixth Sense" was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It stars Bruce Willis as Dr. Malcolm Crowe and Haley Joel Osment as a young boy named Cole Sear. Sear tells Crowe that he can see dead people, and Crowe begins to spend time with Sear, trying to help him through these interactions. This film was nominated for six Oscars and grossed over $670 million worldwide.


Dr. Malcolm Crowe is a successful child psychologist. His wife, Anna Crowe (Olivia Williams), tells Crowe that she feels second to his work and mourns what their relationship could be. Cole Sear comes to Crowe with a problem that Crowe does not usually encounter; he is able to see dead people. Sear's mother, Lynn (Toni Collette), is desperate for Crowe to find a solution to Cole's problems. Vincent Grey (Donnie Wahlberg) is one of Crow's former patients.


In the opening scene, Grey shoots Crowe in the stomach for not helping him with his mental problems. Grey then shoots himself. Soon after, Crowe takes Sear on as a client because he can see and talk to dead people as if they are real people. His symptoms and experience seem similar to Grey's. Crowe helps Sear communicate with the ghosts to figure out their intentions. Through talking to the ghosts, Sear discovers what happened in their lives, how they died and what unfinished business they have left on Earth that he can help with.

Helping Ghosts

Sear takes many risks during the plot of the story, both in building trust with Crowe and helping the ghosts he encounters. At first, Sear is afraid of the dead people he sees. He is unsure what they want or that he can help them with their unfinished business. Crowe urges Sear to try and communicate with the ghosts. For example, one girl hides under a bed. She gives him a jewelry box containing a video and tells him to take it to her home. The video is given to the girl's father and shows her mother poisoning the dead girl while she was sick. She has Sear do this to prevent her sister from the same fate.


Crowe develops a deep and meaningful relationship with Sear. While Crowe is helping him talk to the ghosts, Sear advises Crowe on his marriage. Crowe notices that his wife is often sad and distant from him. Sear suggests talking to Mrs. Crowe in her sleep: she may be able to hear him then. This in fact does help, but probably not in the way that the film has led you to believe.

Photo Credits

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