Dr. Malcom Crowe (Bruce Willis) is a successful child psychologist who has just received an award for all the great work he has done with the children of Philadelphia. The same night he got his award he's at home celebrating with his wife Anne (Olivia Williams); they hear some noises and when trying to find what caused it they see a man standing on the bathroom, wearing nothing but underwear. He's shaking and seems all freaked out, he keeps telling Malcom that he failed him, while the latter tries to remember older patients and find out who he is, and is attempting to calm him down at the same moment, but the guy fires a gun to Dr. Crowe.
The next scene is located in the next fall, Malcom is apparently studying a kid called Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), and he approachs to him to tell him he wishes to help. Cole says other doctors have tried and failed, but Malcom still wants to help, so he establishes a relationship with the kid, who has been hiding a secret for all of his life: It seems like Cole can actually see ghosts, he sees them walking around like normal people, some of them have wounds -the ones that probably caused it's death- and no one except Cole can see them. Cole never revealed his secret before because he doesn't want to be considered a freak, or someone different, that's understandable. Saying all this is, of course, not a spoiler; The interesting part is how Cole deals with the ghosts while Dr. Crowe tries to solve the little kid's problem.
Right after the film was released there were many people talking about how talented Osment is, I don't personally think he was so great, maybe because I usually don't appreciate child performances a lot, but I do recognize he was very good for such a young boy, I'm not sure if any other child actors could have done such a convincing job. Still, I don't agree with those who say he deserved the Oscar, and I also disagree with the Academy's decision, I think Tom Cruise should have got it for Magnolia. Maybe someone else could have played the Dr. Crowe role, but I have absolutely no complains about Willis' performance.
Manoj Night Shyamalan is an extremly talented writer and director. This was his first big film, and that's no surprise, this film will gain lots of respect through the years and will become a classic sooner than you might expect. The atmosphere in this film is simply amazing, I know it's Shyamalan's style because the 'style' of the viewing is similar to the one in "Unbreakable", although the films are very different. He manages to fill the screen with such a great suspense that you wont even want to blink so you don't miss a single second of this film. Through the whole movie you get the same spooky feeling, the background music and the clever direction contributed a lot to this.
But what truly shocked nearly everyone who watched this film was the ending. We all know that a good ending doesn't save a bad movie, but this film had it all, a clever story which is very interesting and well done and suddenly you find yourself with this confusing ending which makes it all even better; this doesn't happen very often. Some movies have twists that leave a bunch of questions unanswered and don't explain exactly how/why that happened, but thw twist in this film makes complete sense and that's what people love. Even though some people claim to have seen the twist coming I think it's nearly impossible to notice. There have been a few successful twists in the past decade, such as the one in "The Usual Suspects", this is definitely one of the best I've ever seen. Not only the smart, jaw-dropping twist is great, but the movie in general has what it takes to be described as an 'excellent film', and some may say the term 'masterpiece' is even more appropiate. The film has some spooky, frightening scenes but it doesn't really fit into the Horror genre, it's just those ghosts that sometimes scare you, that's about it. This is a wonderful thriller that shouldn't be missed by anyone, and be sure to NOT let anyone tell you about it's ending before you see it.
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