8

At the end of The Sixth Sense, Malcolm finds his wife having fallen asleep watching old video tapes of each other. Then she drops a wedding ring, the camera zooms in on her hand to show that she's wearing a wedding ring and finally it's shown that Malcolm isn't wearing one. This makes Malcolm realize that he is a ghost and has been dead for a year.

This seems like a strange way to make this reveal. I don't recall it being firmly established that Malcolm is a man who never takes off his wedding band. Both for him (especially with ghosts "only seeing what they want to see") and for the audience there are plausible explanations for why he might not be wearing his wedding ring at that time. (Forgot to put it on after showering, angry because his wife flirted with someone earlier, etc.)

Conversely, had the shot of Malcolm's hand shown that he was still wearing his ring, there would be three wedding rings in one place. Both Malcolm and the audience could have immediately recognized this as impossible, and a strong clue that Malcolm's ring, like his clothes and body, are just a ghostly memory.

Is there any reason, preferably based on interviews of the crew and cast, why the movie chose to show Malcolm wearing no ring?

10

Why was the wedding ring missing during the twist of The Sixth Sense?

Why not? They needed to establish that he is dead and his wife is still holding up his memories and he needs to tell her off she was not second:

You were never second

So what's the best way to tell this? The wedding ring seems perfect.

I don't recall it being firmly established that Malcolm is a man who never takes off his wedding band.

How did it suppose to get established? We only see him alive in one scene and usually, it's a tradition to keep your wedding ring on. It's been part of so many films and shows too to show how important it is to keeps your ring on.

Also one trivial thing you might have missed:

Willis practiced writing with his right hand (he's actually a southpaw) for a scene in which a close up shows him scribbling away. The reason? He didn't want to reveal that his wedding band was missing (as is worn on the left, traditionally). The wedding band is, of course, a vital part of the climactic ending and is dropped by his wife as she falls asleep, showing it was taken off when he died and presumably given to her. Chronologically it is last seen on Malcolm as he lies bleeding, in this late scene, pictured. - Shortlist

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    Interesting. I didn't know that the wedding ring was missing throughout the movie, and that this was deliberately hidden. But this still leaves me wondering about why it would be missing. Presumably his clothes were removed after his death too, but he still wears those. His whole appearance as a ghost is how he remembers himself looking at the time of his death, and that seems like it should include a wedding ring. And if the key point to make is that his wife was never second, having his ghost still wear a ring makes it more clear that he was always thinking of her. – bificommander Oct 7 at 11:06
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    @bificommander Ghosts don't pick what they look like. The cyclist who doesn't know she's dead yet does display her injury (she just doesn't know it yet). Malcolm's injury (and the blood) happens to be easily hidden by a jacket but it's the same principle. Ghosts see what they want to see, but they don't change (nor pick) their appearance. – Flater Oct 7 at 14:18
  • Honestly, I just assumed they were separated (or perhaps divorced), so showing or not showing a ring wouldn't have been a kicker for me one way or the other. – T.E.D. Oct 7 at 18:33

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