Question: Why was Vincent (the guy who shot Malcolm) in his underwear? Couldn't he have shot Malcolm wearing his clothes?
New this week Answer: There's no explanation but someone being dressed only in their underwear while they are in someone else's home to shoot them would indicate a severe mental problem, which was the case with Vincent.
Question: What happened to Cole in the room that he got locked in at the party? We hear the ghost but as far as we saw during the movie, none of the ghosts actually hurt Cole, physically at least, so what could've happened to him?
Answer: Near the end of the movie, when Cole tells his mother his secret, he is explaining to her about the ghosts, and says "They're the ones that used to hurt me". This informs us that the ghosts are responsible for his injuries in the movie, and that this problem has stopped. In this specific case, however, Lyn removes Cole's unconscious body from the closet. The movie does not specifically answer your question, however it seems reasonable speculation that he was injured by the ghost inside the closet with him, and that he thrashed about violently trying to escape. Since the hospital checked him for signs of seizure, I expect he lost consciousness not from physical trauma, but because the experience was too much for him and he, for want of a medical term, fainted.
Question: Does Cole know for the whole movie that Malcolm is dead? If he does, why isn't he afraid of him like he is of the other dead people in the movie?
Answer: Yes, of course. Remember that Cole tells us that these ghosts only "see what they want to see". To avoid giving away the whole plot twist of the movie, we see Malcolm as he sees himself - no injury, and dressed as would be appropriate for where he sees himself. But we know Cole can see dead people, and he sees them as they truly are. The young blonde boy with the back of his head blown out should make this clear. As for the second part of your question, I think Cole is scared of Malcolm at first. You can see his fear when Malcolm walks past him in the church to sit in the pew in front of where he is playing. His tension slowly eases during their conversation, but he still looks wary as he leaves the church. I get the impression that Cole spends large portions of his time in this building, yet he leaves this time within a few minutes of arriving; he doesn't want to stay near this new ghost. He becomes comfortable with him later of course, and Malcolm eventually wins his trust through honesty about his own problems, but this is not true from the start.
Question: Does anyone know why in pictures Cole always had a streak of light above his head?
Answer: That sparkle represented the dead people who were always hanging around Cole. Being in his presence, with his power to interact with the dead, caused them to have a physical signal to a perceiver of absolute truth: a camera.
Question: If Malcolm is dead how does Cole's mother see him in the movie?
Answer: The answer is simple: she doesn't. If you watch the movie carefully, you'll note that the only one who actually ever acknowledges Malcolm's presence is Cole. For the rest of the movie, you only assume that everyone sees or acknowledges Malcolm simply because of the way the scenes are shot. When a scene starts by showing Malcolm sitting in a room with Cole's mother, we as a movie-going public have been trained to assume that means they have been talking. However, we never actually see that happen.
Question: I'm unclear about the mother of the young girl who died. Did she intentionally kill her daughter or was it accidental? That is, was this supposed to be a Munchhausen by Proxy Disorder situation where the mother only intended to keep her daughter sick enough so she was under constant medical supervision?
Answer: At best, it was Munchhausen by Proxy. However, it could have been a well-planned murder of one, and then the other child. But the mother's reaction when everyone is looking at her seems a little more mental than criminal.
Question: Maybe this is just an assumption of mine, but since Malcolm is dead why can't he see the other dead people, ie the three hanging in the school?
Answer: Cole explains this. During the hospital scene when he tells his secret, he describes the dead people he sees as "Walking around like regular people. The don't see each other. They only see what they wanna see. They don't know they're dead". This explains many things in the movie, including why Malcolm can't see the ghosts, why he can't see his blood-stained shirt (till the very end), why he doesn't see the table blocking the basement door, etc. I believe that Cole sees him just how he looked when he died - blue work shirt with the massive blood stain at the back, while we see Malcolm throughout the movie as he perceives himself - no blood, overcoat when he's outside, etc.
Question: Through most of the film Malcolm is dead. All the other ghosts still have scars from how they died but why doesn't Malcolm have his mark which should be a bullet wound?
Answer: Because as Cole tells us in the middle of the movie, "They only see what they want to see." The movie shows us Malcolm as he perceives himself. He can't actually put on an overcoat, or change clothes. He sees what he expects to see. He goes outside in the cold to visit Cole, so he sees himself wearing an overcoat. He doesn't know he is dead - he doesn't see his wound. To preserve this misdirection throughout the movie, we are shown Malcolm as he sees himself.
Question: If Cole truly knows that Malcolm is a ghost throughout the film, then how do you explain the advice Malcolm gives Cole to "listen to them [the ghosts.]"? Isn't Cole already doing that by listening to Malcolm? How did Malcolm really help Cole deal with his ghosts and fears if the key advice he gave him was something Cole already did the moment he met Malcolm? If Cole already knew to listen to ghosts (e.g. Malcolm), then how did Malcolm really help Cole in reality? (Or was the point of the film more that of Cole helping Malcolm instead?)
Answer: First, be clear that Cole was afraid of Malcolm at first. He is tense when Malcolm first walks into the church. He relaxes with him over time. Remember too that we learn that Cole's grandmother visits him sometimes, and he indicates no fear of her (though I'd guess he was scared at first). More than once in the movie he indicates or infers that not ALL the ghosts he sees are scary. Keeping in mind this is fiction, and not every possibility can be addressed, the flow of events shows that the "solution" is to help the ghosts through listening to their problem(s). The ghosts are lingering due to some issues they wish to see resolved in some manner. It seems Kyra wanted her father to know the truth of her death - indications are this was to protect her little sister who was already being targeted by the step-mother. Things are slightly more complex for Malcolm because his anchor to this life is coincident with helping Cole find the solution to these ghosts. So Malcolm is both persistent and has the training to pierce Cole's resistance and fear; while Cole possibly talks to some ghosts, the ones who aren't scary, he doesn't necessarily "listen" to them in the sense that Malcolm advises later in the movie. Thus, that key conversation leads Cole to the confidence to deal with the ghosts without fear, and also resolves Malcolm's guilt over Vincent.
Question: Since Vincent (Malcolm's ex patient who shot him) can also see ghosts, is there any connection with him and Cole or is it just an amazing coincidence?
Answer: There is no direct connection between Cole and Vincent, and it is not really a coincidence. Cole and Vincent did not know each other, but they shared the same ability to see and hear ghosts. After Malcolm was shot and killed, he sought out Cole without understanding that he himself was dead. Vincent was Malcolm's patient and had been deeply troubled because he also saw ghosts. Malcolm is somehow driven to find and help Cole understand and to accept his ability to see and speak to the deceased.
Question: When Bruce Willis is shot, how come there's lots of blood on the exit wound but absolutely no blood on the entrance wound?
Answer: The exit wound of a bullet is always much bigger than the entrance wound. Because as the bullet goes through the body, it pushes more and more flesh and body with it tearing a larger and larger hole as it passes through. So a bullet goes in, but bullet and lots of flesh and other bodily parts come out making a large exit wound. As of such blood more readily flows from the larger hole that the tighter entrance wound. Plus it could also be from where the bullet hit. The exit wound may be close to an artery that pushes blood out faster and maybe the entrance wound was not close to any large veins.
Question: Crowe thinks his wife resents him for putting his work before her. But since nobody but Cole can see him, what work does he have?
Answer: Child psychologist - or so he thinks. Remember that Bruce Willis' character doesn't comprehend that he is actually dead, and certainly doesn't grasp the fact that Cole is the only person who can see him. Dr. Crowe's perception is that life goes on as does his professional role as a therapist for children. When he is around his wife, he misinterprets her melancholia and somber expressions as evidence that she resents his priority on his work, and that she is behaving coldly towards him as a result. In fact, she is in mourning for Malcolm, her dead husband - something he doesn't realize until the film's end.
Question: Why did Bruce Willis refuse to help Haley Joel Osment after he told him he sees ghosts? As a psychiatrist, surely he's used to patients with hallucinations. And what made him change his mind?
Answer: Spoiler alert: Psychiatrists help their patients in a variety of ways. Generally, they begin by developing rapport, establishing an empathetic relationship, and trying to understand the patient's perspective and how he views the world. Some therapeutic approaches are based on the notion that the relationship between therapist and patient is the prime source of healing. Many psychiatrists would also prescribe medication to ameliorate what they would almost assuredly view as psychotic symptoms. But in this case, I think Dr. Crowe has a sense, throughout, that his young patient's experiences are more than hallucinations. Cole's stories resonate with him at a deep level, as he is also struggling internally and subconsciously with his own (as we will later learn) ambiguous position between life and death. I don't think there's a point where Dr. Crowe changes his mind, per se. He develops. And in the process, he definitely assists Cole in overcoming his fears, as well. During the film, they heal one another.
Question: Could Anna see ghosts? Why was she shivering in the closet and then ran out of it in fear? Also in the end why was she shivering and answering Malcolm? Was she ignoring him all the time?
Answer: No, she can't see ghosts...no one but Cole can. But it is established that everyone can feel the "chilling" effect of the ghosts, and feel an inexplicable coldness in their presence. Naturally, this freaks them out, so it's natural Anna (and everyone else) would run from it. At the end, she wasn't answering Malcolm, just as throughout the film what appears to be her ignoring him is simply her not being aware of his presence. She's merely talking in her sleep, and Malcolm, as he does every other time, mistakes this for a direct interaction...until he realises the truth.
Question: If Malcolm was dead, how did he know all about Cole, and that he needed help? Where did he get all the info?
Answer: The dead need to finish things on Earth before they can move on. In Malcolm's case, he needs to help Cole - making up for his failure to help Vincent Grey. In order to do this, he needs the relevant information, so it is supplied to him by whatever agency controls these things. As the dead are unaware of their condition, Malcolm receives the information as if it were another case file for him to work on.