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Synopsis

A boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

MovieGuy Review

I have no hesitation in saying that this is one of the best movies I've ever seen. I originally saw the film on its second weekend back in 1999. It was early enough that the buzz had not yet started to spread, so I really had no expectations. I suppose I had seen a trailer or two...just enough to get me interested in going to see the movie.

Back then, I used to go to the movies 3-4 times each week. I was a massive consumer of my local cineplex. Sometimes I would go on a Saturday and stay for 2-3 films in a single day. But, despite the fact that I was seeing so many movies back then, I still remember the theater where I saw it and exactly how I felt when I left the theater that night. My mind had been blown (which doesn't happen that often) and I loved every minute of it.

I think this was M. Night Shyamalan's second or third film, but likely his best. It seems to be a common phenomenon for a talented filmmaker to get his/her masterpiece out early and then spend the rest of his/her career chasing after the magic that came together in that early film. Regardless, in this movie, M. Night proved himself a master storyteller. I just watched this movie again, probably for the seventh or eighth time, and it's still an almost mystical experience for me.

The story is well-conceived and the pacing is almost perfect. The performances were spot on, and the performance of newcomer Haley Joel Osment was spellbinding and absolutely carried this film. I don't really understand how such a young actor could turn in a performance so thoughtful and intense. His timing was impeccable. I am still awestruck at what this young actor was able to do. Osment was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2000, but lost to Michael Caine's performance in "Cider House Rules" ( a solid performance, but nowhere close to what Haley Joel did in "The Sixth Sense"). It's also worth mentioning a powerful performance by Toni Colette ("Muriel's Wedding", "About A Boy"). Toni's performance as Osment's mother provided additional master strokes to an already superb work of art. No surprise now, since she has proven her chops time and time again in the years since this film was released.

If, by some miracle, you haven't already seen this movie, stop what you're doing right now. Don't Google the movie. Don't YouTube it. Just go and pay the $5.99 to rent it online and watch it as soon as humanly possible. I highly recommend you don't watch it with someone who has already seen it. Barricade yourself in your media room, or wherever you prefer to enjoy your favorite movies at home, and lose yourself for a couple hours in what will hopefully be one of you finest "movie-going" experiences. I highly recommend this movie.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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