Sixth Year, August Sixth, The Sixth Sense

A Tribute by Fair

What is it that we celebrate today? The power of "The Sixth Sense" compels us to exercise the many thoughts and feelings we have for this film, which have built up over the last six years, and reside within each of us in one form or another. Before I get too carried away with another whimsical "opener"... and I'm still waiting for someone to call me on the use of the term "opener" as being a strategic reference from that wonderful little Haley Film "Bogus"... I think six years out since the release of the marvelous film, "The Sixth Sense", deserves some level of reflection.

I find it to be a rather interesting coincidence that as we celebrate the sixth year of release for "The Sixth Sense", the next Haley Film, "Home Of The Giants", would also be announced just six days ago. As Haley Joel Osment is about to begin the next phase of his brilliant and magnificent career, how nice that it should coincide with the anniversary of the film that fully launched his career into the "best of the best" category.

Many regard "The Sixth Sense" as being the film that captured one of the most brilliant and compelling young actor performances this world has ever seen, and just might ever see... except, of course, for any future performances by that same young actor. (And it would not take very long for another such performance to be realized.) That young actor set the standard by which all future young actor performances would be measured and judged. Not that he was ever looking for such an honour as he just gave his best to the film, but because of his level of perfection achieved, you continue to find his name mentioned in every article relating to any young actor performance considered worthy of merit... for both genders. That is the benchmark that Haley has set, and why he IS the best.

I also find it interesting that such a performance and film would come at time, or more specifically, during a year [1999] that marked a tangible revival or "golden year" for films in Hollywood. I think that is something we should reflect on as another contribution that Haley has given to Hollywood. Because of his almost impossible to be believed performance that served as the true catalyst for the films success, not to take anything away from the other wonderful performances given by everyone else in the film, there can be no doubt it was Haley's performance that served as the true heart of the film. As has been mentioned time and again by just about everyone associated with the production, the film would not have even come close to being as successful, were it not for Haley being the source of the magic that carried the film through the summer and on into the great hall of classic films.

Although the film opened at the box office at number one with respectable numbers for the initial weekend, the true greatness of the film would soon be measured over the many weeks to come. This low budget psychological horror film would remain at number one for five straight weeks. It would not drop out of the top five for nine straight weeks. It would remain in the list of top ten films at the box office for fifteen straight weeks, and it would finally disappear from the top fifteen films after 20 straight weeks... or five months!!! When has any other modest little film enjoyed that level of success... how could such a modest little film even experience such success, were there not some thread of magic woven through the tapestry of the film... and who again was the source of that magic...???

Because of the overwhelming success of "The Sixth Sense", it carried the rest of the summer and allowed the momentum from that "golden year" of films to continue, and even provided a nice surge of energy to help close out the year. The effects of that energy would continue to be felt and echo in time in the years since the film premiered. Would films such as "The Others", "The Ring", "Godsend", and "Hide and Seek", just to name a few off the top of my head, ever have been green lighted were it not for the success of this film? Haley's performance opened up the door to many other similar films built around one of the central characters being a young actor, as the conduit for whatever supernatural theme was central to the film.

The ensuing performances from the many different young actors would prove to be quite adequate and even enjoyable for the given material. But when compared to the masterwork created by Haley, all of the performances are revealed as competent forgeries, which reflect as the highest complement that can be paid to the original artist. Haley's brilliant and nuanced performance was so complete and overwhelming, that it pulled you into the film, and drew your feelings around this very real person "Cole Sear" to want to protect him.

That is one of Haley's most unique and important abilities. The way that he can so easily enter your heart as his character and wrap your feelings around him, so that you cannot help yourself but to care so deeply for the character like he was an actual person, and a member of your own family. That is one of the most powerful skills that any actor can possess, and Haley uses the ability with the same skill used by a surgeon wielding a scalpel. What is so interesting is that unique ability has carried over into his real life... or perhaps that is where the ability orginated, because of who he is as a person... Haley fans everywhere seem to have this demonstrated need to protect Haley, and care about him to the same depths that we care about the characters that he plays, if not more.

I think that is one of the most heartfelt tributes and the greatest personal expression that Haley fans willingly show for their most favourite actor. We can be sure that Haley and family are very much aware of how important this one small boy has become over the years, and how much he means to all of us. As Haley is about to take the first steps down the road of the next phase of his career, what an amazing and solid foundation that has been built around him. There is nothing that can ever break apart what he established during his first decade in the industry. No matter what he might encounter down the road that lies before him, the monument of perfection from his kidactor career shall forever remain as the brightest beacon to ever have been lit by someone so young, and it will forever be said...

"Haley Joel Osment is the best."


All above images in the set above are © Todd Gray


Haley in 2006












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But is that really all that can be said for this "sixth" anniversary... of course not, there is always more. "The Sixth Sense" remains a classic favourite film for most people. It is one of those films that everyone can agree upon if they are trying to decide which film they want to watch again. I think it is the pitch-perfect performances from everyone involved that makes the film a joy to watch again and again, even after all these years. Of course Haley was the magic that made it all possible. As was paid tribute to Haley during the fourth anniversary since the release of "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" celebrations, I can think of no better way to end this, than with the similar sentiments from all the critics that marvelled at his brilliant performance in "The Sixth Sense".
The Critics on Haley in The Sixth Sense
Haley Joel Osment is proving himself to be the Lord Olivier of child actors, taking on a deeply challenging emotional role and striking not a single false note.

Jeff Bond
E! Online

Haley Joel Osment, his young co-star, is a very good actor in a film where his character possibly has more lines than anyone else. He's in most of the scenes, and he has to act in them--this isn't a role for a cute kid who can stand there and look solemn in reaction shots. There are fairly involved dialogue passages between Willis and Osment that require good timing, reactions and the ability to listen. Osment is more than equal to them.

Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

Everyone who sees ''The Sixth Sense'' will come out talking about the kid. The kid is Haley Joel Osment, and he's extraordinary. If this isn't the single best performance ever by a preadolescent male in a motion picture, then it's tied for whatever is first.

Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle

If you retain nothing else from the paranormal thriller The Sixth Sense (and with a film of this caliber, that's not likely), then remember these three words: Haley Joel Osment. For they're going to be associated with a lot of big things -- things like Oscar nominations, which this phenomenal eleven-year-old actor sorely deserves this year but will not likely get due to the Academy's aversion to horror movies starring Bruce Willis.

11th Hour Magazine Review

Haley Joel Osment is a great kid who pretty much carries the whole movie on his own little shoulders. Where was he when George Lucas was auditioning for STAR WARS: EPISODE I? This kid already has an impressive show biz resume, having played Murphy Brown's baby and Forrest Jr. in FORREST GUMP.

Jim Byerley
HBO Review

What I got was much, much more, including the best performance in 1999 (to date) by a child actor. Haley Joel Osment’s name should be first in the credits. It’s his movie and he nails an extremely difficult role as a troubled child.

Mark Welch
The Big Screen Cinema Guide

Young actor Haley Joel Osment, who plays the child medium, is surprisingly good in this movie. He demonstrates some great acting skills, being equally convincing when he's screaming and crying in terror and when he's seething with dark, pessimistic morbidity. Very impressive. I think he actually out-acted Bruce Willis in the process.

Andrew Manning
Movie Review Magazine

Bruce who? Haley Joel Osment makes this movie! Haley, it's Oscar calling!

Film Link

The ''Sixth Sense'' is incredible! Haley Osment was so convincing that I imagined myself in his position and never felt more scared. I felt like jumping into the movie myself so I could hold the young boy! He is absolutely breathtaking! If you're the type to walk into the theater without trying to figure everything out, then you'll agree this movie was great from beginning to end. In this sense, I give it a 10!

Angie C.
The Big Screen Cinema Guide

''Sixth Sense'' is the performance of Haley Joel Osment, the 11-year-old actor with the millennial soul. As Cole Sear, the boy who sees dead people, Osment is a soulful, stricken, solemn presence with the voice of Linus Van Pelt. Normally, these are qualities one doesn't want to see in the child actor; in fact, one rarely wants to see the child actor. This kid is different.

Mark Lepage
Montreal Gazette

Haley Joel Osment, in a brilliant piece of acting Osment has the transparency to let us see through his shell and into his very core.

Movies 101

Even better and, considering his age, more astounding is Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear. His character practically travels through heck and back here and the young actor is more than up to the task. Osment delivers his lines and feigns the gamut of emotions required here with all the seriousness and gravity and professionalism I'd expect from most of the best actors out there. For God's sake, someone give this kid some kind of award!

Cinema City

You never think that he’s just a cute kid in a movie with Bruce Willis; instead, you think that there’s a well-seasoned actor playing a kid who sees dead people up there on the big screen, and after the movie you appreciate his ability to make you forget that he’s only 11 years old.

Robert A. Fulkerson
Manley Movie Film Reviews

In addition to Willis, both Collette and young Osment give a standout performances. Osment's Oscar buzz is premature, but he does play the most convincing scared kid I've seen on film.

Wilson Hutton
Voices Film Reviews

He (Willis) and young Haley Joel Osment give outstanding performances, especially Osment. In fact, he’s so convincing that I think he deserves an OSCAR nod, maybe even the award itself. Child actors like him, who can really act, are rare these days.

Weekly Movie Review

Back in the 1930s, the Academy gave out small Oscars for the best juvenile performance of the year. (This was before the word juvenile became a pejorative.) It is a shame that this practice has fallen by the wayside, since young Haley Joel Osment (the little boy from BOGUS) would win this year's award hands down for his incredible work as the star of THE SIXTH SENSE.

Steve Rhodes
Film Reviews by Steve Rhodes

Haley Joel Osment manages to consummate The Sixth Sense's shocking theme in breathtaking splendor. Every so often, he gives us creepy little glimpses of this corpse-strewn world as it appears through Cole's tormented vision.

Stephen Holden
New York Times

Is there a minimum age required for an Oscar nomination? If not, an early suggestion would be Haley Joel Osment for his amazing performance in this film. Osment, is the most talented and credible child actor to grace the good screen in years. His tears of sadness and despair are so frighteningly real it will give you goosebumps.

Jamey Hughton
Movie Views

However, the actor who is most memorable here is 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment. Osment turns Cole into a warm and tangible character; he delivers many of his lines in a tired, hushed voice that speaks to his weariness in life, and he never falls into cutesiness to get sympathy. Had Osment not been so good as Cole, ''The Sixth Sense'' could have easy buckled and fallen apart.

James Kendrick
Q Network

One of the reasons the movie succeeds is Haley Joel Osment. This experienced young actor seems to have his own special method of making his character believable. When he crawls into the makeshift tent in his room - his refuge filled with stolen holy statues - the horrid nightmares of childhood floood back to us, too. In fact this boy possesses an amazing endurance, hiding the heart of his affliction from his mother, postponing telling his doctor until a moment after the doctor tells his own secrets to the boy. An Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor would not be out of order for Osment.

Mark O'Hara
Movie Eye

Osment's tortured bravery is something to see, a wise-beyond-his-years characterization only hinted at by his highly composed Forrest Junior in ''Forrest Gump.''

Steve Schneider
Orlando Weekly

Haley Joel Osment is one of the best child actors I have ever seen; this kid is sharp and I expect him to be around for many years to come.

Jay Tierney

The acting in the film is uniformly excellent. Haley Joel Osment, who plays the boy Cole, is the keystone of the film. Even with all its other virtues, the film wouldn't have worked as well as it does without someone of his ability in this role. I don't know if a child actor has ever won an Academy Award, but Osment definitely deserves one.

Kent Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle

Osment does an excellent job as the troubled Cole, showing maturity beyond his years - he conveys the terror of his situation without being melodramatic (if only he'd been available for Phantom Menace...). Expect to see a lot more of him in the future.


However the showstealer is Haley Joel Osment who is the first child actor in recent memory to carry a movie with such dramatic convinction. Child actors more often suffer in Maculay Culkin type parts. Osment showcases convincing talent which hopefully will break the curse of child actors and bring forth better roles for child actors.

Humberto M. Ferre
The Milkyway Maltshop

This kid is amazing! The one thing I took with me from this movie other than pure joy at the twist at the end was how good of a performance Haley Joel Osment turned in. I look forward to seeing what else he will do in the future, he should have quite a career in store for him.

Movies for Guys

If there was anything frightening about the film, it was Osment's performance. It is the intensity of his gaze and his soft-spoken, wise words that denote strength and vulnerability at the same time.

Christina Thompson
UTK Daily Beacon

At the risk of repeating other critics, the real star of The Sixth Sense is little Haley Joel Osment, a frighteningly talented young actor who is more than up to his unconventionally challenging role. He not only holds his own in talky, complex sequences with Willis, but he outshines his older, more experienced co-star every chance he gets. The movie itself isn't an award contender but Osment's performance should not -- and I expect that it will not -- be forgotten come Oscar time.

Eugene Novikov
Ultimate Movies! Review



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