Ron Livingston delivers the performance of a lifetime in this acclaimed film based on the incredible true-life story of Richard Pimentel. Deafened by a bomb blast in Vietnam, Richard (Livingston) returns home and discovers... more » his life's calling: helping others with disabilities, including his fellow veterans. Along with his bestfriend Art (Michael Sheen), a wheelchair-bound rebel with a wicked wit, Richard fights for the rights of those whose voices can't always be heard. Music Within is a powerful and inspiring journey that every American should take.« less
Michael V. (horseracer21) from LAGUNA WOODS, CA Reviewed on 10/10/2019...
This is MUST SEE MOVIE for so many reasons , it will blow you away!!
Leah G. (Leahbelle) from GROVER BEACH, CA Reviewed on 3/14/2012...
This was a great movie. My husband and I both liked it.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Julia R. (julia) from GERMANTOWN, MD Reviewed on 7/5/2011...
I really liked this film and am recommending it to everyone I know. It's an inspiring tale, based on a true story, of triumphing over adversity.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Betty G. (Rowlena) from SOUTH SALEM, NY Reviewed on 5/21/2009...
A story about overcoming the odds when you don't know that you are going to be the one that has the courage to change everything. It begs to ask "Does history make men? Or do men make history". This is a great film to watch to learn about the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and then have a discussion about what is disability. lit
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
A Celebration of Life and the Music Within Each of Us
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The life of the extraordinary survivor Richard Pimentel is a fine biography that manages to explore the many phases of a unique man's life with humor, tenderness, and bravado. Though barely recognized in its theatrical release, MUSIC WITHIN should hopefully find a wide audience in the form of this well constructed DVD. There are many significant lessons to be learned from this story (written by Bret McKinney, Mark Andrew Olsen and Kelly Kennemeras) as well as a large dose of entertainment from some superb actors directed by Steven Sawalich (credited with the original idea for the film).
Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston) entered the world as one of the survivors in a series of miscarriages by his mother (Rebecca De Mornay), a deeply disturbed woman who surrendered her only living child to a Catholic orphanage at birth. From there Pimentel grew up with bizarre circumstances, raised by his Chinese father who dies from a working accident. Desperately needing to belong and to recognized, Pimentel became an expert public speaker, but his efforts to gain admission to college were thwarted by college speech professor Ben Padrow (Hector Elizondo) who admired Pimentel's technical abilities on the stage but says he needs to live life to find his 'music within' before he can succeed in college level oratory. Out of need for employment and guarantee for a college education Pimentel joins the military, is sent to Vietnam, where a blast of incoming explosions disables him with deafness. Released from the military without the benefits of Veteran funds, Pimentel deals with his inability to hear, meets Art Honeyman (Michael Sheen) disabled by cerebral palsy and the two strike up a warm friendship: the two can understand each other and form a bond stronger than the critical eye of the 'normal world'. Pimentel meets the beautiful Christine (Melissa George) and soon they bed only to have Pimentel discover the Christine shares her bed with another man. From this point the story picks up a pace that is breathless as Pimentel gains his education and a good job, only to join a group of disabled veterans, and eventually devote his life to fighting for the rights of the disabled. And this is all true!
Livingston finds the right balance between dark humor and ambition to create change in a world that views the disabled as 'ugly', and together with Michael Sheen's impeccable performance as the multifaceted cerebral palsy stricken Ken, the spot-on actors transcend the 'docudrama' genre and offer us unforgettable characters that provide a richly entertaining story as well as a plea for understanding the plight of the disabled. The features included with the DVD are full of interviews with the real Richard Pimentel and the actors' and director's responses to the formation of the American Disabilities Act that resulted from this amazing young man's struggle to find his music within. It is a wild ride of a comic film with a very tender message. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, April 08"
Inner Visions and Revisions
Rocky Raccoon | Boise, ID | 04/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Pimentel knows what it is to be unwanted. That's the way life started with his mother (Rebecca De Mornay) whose multiple miscarriages led her into suicidal grief for each one's passing. So absorbed is she in her loss, she has little left to give to her only living son. (The narrative is crisp through the movie, as he observes that his mother was "...not successful at suicide, but she was punctual.") His father is a Chinese restauranteur, who provides some stability in the boy's life until he passes away from a work-related accident. Then, mom changes custody for him from her to relatives and back to her again.
Richard becomes eloquent in spite of it all. He develops his speech skills enough to win trophies, but not enough to win a scholarship from Portland (WA) University. Dr. Pedro gives him a try out, but his conviction doesn't match his delivery.
His solution is to join the Army where he volunteers and becomes an enlistee for the Vietnam War. One night while celebrating and reverie with his fellow soldiers, a shell pierces the night sky, but they aren't able to evacuate in time. The blast leaves Richard injured, especially with hearing loss. One of the masterstrokes of the movie is how they relate the muffled sounds of speech and the perpetual ringing in the ears he experiences and is expected to live with for the rest of his life.
Coming home, he has disability support, but he needs so much more. He comes across a counselor who gives no support or consolation about job opportunities, but his anger and determination keep him going. Like nearly everyone else, he'd like to relate to others and be a productive and working member of society.
The people he meets from there are essential. Fellow Vet Mike Stoltz (Yul Vázquez), suffering from an amputated leg, offers him a beer at 10:00 in the morning, but he proves to be a better companion than beer for breakfast. At a cafeteria, Richard meets a patron, Art Honeyman (Michael Sheen), who has cerebral palsy. Shooting from the hip with a few choice expletives, Art has a style and conviction Richard likes better than the professor did his own. Together they're inseparable. One day while roller skating (Art's in a roller chair) they inadvertently knock over Christine who is understandably flustered, but he finds his match with her steady live-in boyfriend who has the looks, but not the congeniality toward his handicapped friend.
Most of the movie shows Richard's struggle--within himself, against institutions, and winning Christine's affection. With friends and determination as his chief resources, he is able to lobby support for handicapped people in groundbreaking ways. Although based on a true story, I was surprised to find so many means one man, who used his eloquence and handicaps to provide those "...little differences you make in someone's life." Both personal and historical in impact, 'Music Within' should be music to every movie goer's ears."
Michele L. Sutter | Enterprise, KS | 04/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful film. We were actually fortunate enough to have Mr. Richard Pimentel come speak at our school this past Summer. His story is amazing and worth the watch. It is a shame that every theatre in the country didn't show this amazing movie which showcases the creation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). This is a must see. I really enjoyed the special features but of course since we heard Mr. Pimentel speak, we heard much more of the speech that is featured on the DVD. It is a shame they didn't show the speech in its entirety because his story is truly inspiring. I wish the movie were longer because when it's over, you don't want it to be finished but it's worth viewing. Check it out."
Amy E. Meredith | WA | 12/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an incredible film. I made it an extra credit assignment for my neuroanatomy students last spring. I bought the DVD when it came out so that I could have more students watch it. I teach in Speech and Hearing Sciences, so the story of a man with hearing loss and his friendship with another man with a cerebral palsy is very relevant. The story is educational, funny, and heart wrenching, as well as being based on a true story."