The Sixth Sense (1999) Ending Explained – What is the shocking truth about Malcolm?

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense Plot Synopsis

A child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe, is asked to help 9-year-old Cole Sears, who is experiencing mental deterioration. What initially appears to be a normal case turns out to be much more complex after Cole reveals he can see spirits.

In a bizarre turn of events, the case eventually leads to Malcolm discovering a shocking truth about himself.


The Sixth Sense

What happens with Malcolm?

Malcolm is a revered child psychologist. The night he receives an award for his work, he is shot by an angry former patient, Vincent Grey. A couple of months later, he is hired by Lynn Sear to counsel her son, Cole.

The project is special to Malcolm because Cole reminds him of Vincent, and he feels that by curing Cole, he can compensate for the failed treatment of Vincent.


How does Cole’s treatment begin?

Cole is a highly reserved kid who is haunted by bad social interactions and real ghosts. Malcolm knows what he is up against. So, he tries to win Cole’s trust with a game where he tries to read his mind. Initially reluctant, Cole begins developing trust for Malcolm. However, his troubles don’t seem to stop. On his birthday, a couple of bullies lock him in a cupboard where he faints due to suffocation.

Cole shares with Malcolm his secret about seeing dead people and ghosts. He further adds that the ghosts only see what they want to see, and are oblivious to their state. Malcolm has a hard time believing him. He feels Cole is experiencing delusions until he himself hears a ghost in a videotape. Once convinced that Cole was right about ghosts, Malcolm completely changes his treatment approach.

He suggests Cole try to communicate with the ghosts and help them if possible. Though fearfully, Cole follows Malcolm’s strange advice.


The Sixth Sense

How does Cole recover?

Cole works to find out about a ghost girl he witnessed vomiting in his room. Joined by Malcolm, he goes to her house and sneaks into her room. The dead girl gives him a videotape containing the secret of her murder. Cole hands the videotape to her father revealing it was her mother who poisoned her to death.

Cole starts learning how to live with his unwanted power. In addition to improved behaviour, his performance in school gets better with the help of a dead coach.

Afterwards, Cole tells his mother about his ability – which she doesn’t believe initially, but is later convinced when Cole shares information about her he couldn’t ever have known.


Malcolm’s Fate

Having successfully treated Cole, Malcolm comes home to find his wife speaking in her sleep about him having left her. When his ring falls from his wife’s hand, he notices he has not been wearing his ring. Instantly, Cole’s words about the dead ring in his head, and he realizes he died the same day his patient shot him. And all along, only Cole could see him.

Though sad about not being able to embrace his wife, Malcolm calms himself down and accepts his unfortunate fate. He sits near his wife to say his final goodbye filled with love. His face expresses no grief – just shreds of satisfaction.


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