The Sixth Sense tells the story of a man trying to redeem himself of a past failure by helping a young boy conquer his own demons. Atfirst, one would think that this underlying theme is in the idea of redemption. However, if we are to look even closer, below the surface and into the depths of the film we would discover that the predominant underlying societal issue taken from The Sixth Sense is the idea of perception versus reality. More specifically, within this framework, the film speaks to society's ability to place judgments on it's people. This idea runs throughout the film, from the most obvious example to the more discreet.
The most obvious example of where these two forces collide is from the film's lead character Malcolm Crowe. As the film begins, Malcolm, an honored child psychologist, is confronted with the inauspicious task of saving one child months after realizing he failed with a similar case. The perception throughout the movie is that Malcolm has survived the wound he received from his former patient, Vincent Gray, and that now he is trying to rectify that situation by saving a new patient, Cole Sear. However, the reality is that Malcolm is being saved by Cole and that he has in fact not survived the gun shot.
The perception versus reality theme also extends to the character of Cole Sear. Cole is a kid with oversized glasses and the posture of a beaten puppy. A social outcast, tormented by other children, Cole hides his anguish and pretends to be normal. Eventually we find out that Cole's anguish is that he sees "dead people". As the story develops we find out that he is able to overcome his obstacles in a way that finds him peace of mind. In this instance, there is never more clear a case of society's judgmental tendencies than in this character. As wefirst view Cole, it is perceived that he is a kid with problems. After finding out wh