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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: I finally see dead people

I was way behind the curve in the summer of 1999 with The Sixth Sense, which I didn’t see or review till months after it opened (this was just before I started attending press screenings, so I missed a lot of stuff early on). Avoiding hearing everyone talk about it — even though I thought I had guessed the big twist, and was mostly right — made it hard, because it was the kind of film that people couldn’t shut up about, even if it could have been even more talkworthy:

If I have one quibble with The Sixth Sense, it’s that I wish that its big secret had been left more open to interpretation. Audiences tend not to like ambiguity, I know, and even find themselves confused by it — I couldn’t help overhearing the couple sitting behind me, as the credits rolled, marvel to each other that not until the twist was fully explained right at the end did they “get” it. But I’d have loved if Shyamalan had just clipped the last two minutes or so from the movie. Those who look at movies straightforwardly wouldn’t have even noticed the subtext running through the film, but the rest of us could have had a lot of fun debating the issue: Is X the case, or isn’t it?

review of The Sixth Sense, posted 08.30.99

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  • “Sixth Sense” unfortunately, won out against the much more entertaining, “Stir of Echoes”. Both movies have the same central concept and both came out around the same time.

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