Max (Jason Schwartzman) is an odd kid – overachieving in many ways at the Rushmore Academy, he becomes friends with Herman Blume (Bill Murray) the father of a classmate, falls in love with Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), a teacher, and is put out of the school by Dr Nelson Guggenheim (Brian Cox). Really, he’s just trying to find his place in the world – be it at Rushmore Academy or beyond.
This is Wes Anderson’s first feature film and it’s where we see many of the stylistic and story elements which define his work. I recently became quite cross about Anderson’s most recent film, Isle of Dogs, and was fearful about revisiting his previous films, but took the plunge. I think I’m still a fan. Mostly. It’s very strange seeing Jason Schwartzman so young, but I do really like the way Anderson creates weird characters who are so over confident. Many people struggle leaving high school success and moving to the real world, but it usually takes a while for them to realise it. In Rushmore, it almost happens before he finishes school.
After receiving an award for his work in psychology with children, Dr Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) and his wife Anna (Olivia Williams) are attacked in their home by one of his former patients, Vincent Grey (Donnie Wahlberg). Several months later, Malcolm feels he cannot connect with his wife and has lost his work mojo. Then he meets Cole (Haley Joel Osment), a nervous young boy who reminds him of Vincent, living with his wonderful mother, Lynn (Toni Collette). But when Cole reveals that he sees dead people, Malcolm has a challenge that, if he can sole, may bring him peace of mind.
Do I give away the spoiler? Along with the revelation of what Rosebud is in Citizen Kane and the big secret from The Crying Game, it has to be one of the most quoted spoilers of all time. Just for that, I’ll keep schtum. It is most certainly worth watching. It is tense and freaky and so very, very sad. Watch it. If you haven’t seen it, you really must.
The Sixth Sense was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Haley Joel Osment), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Toni Collette), Best Director (M. Night Shyamalan), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (M. Night Shyamalan) and Best Film Editing (Andrew Mondshein).