Friday, August 10, 2012

Music Within (2007) [R] ****-

Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston) grew up unloved by the mother (Rebecca De Mornay) who bore him in 1949 after suffering seven miscarriages. From age two onward, whenever she needed a respite, his mother handed Richard off to an orphanage or a foster home, until she decided to claim him as her own again. At age fourteen, Richard discovered a gift for public speaking. He developed his skill over the next six years, but without the life experience to give his oratory credibility, he was denied a scholarship to Portland State University. Directionless, Richard enlisted in the Army, and subsequently lost his hearing in Vietnam. Returning to Portland in 1970 he discovered firsthand how the disabled were shunned and made to feel invisible because their disfigurement made normal people feel uncomfortable.

Over the next twenty years Richard worked tirelessly on behalf of the disabled, training employers to recognize and value the disabled as an underutilized resource, speaking publicly on their behalf, writing his seminal book Tilting at Windmills, and finally seeing his life work bear fruit in 1990 with the passage and signing into federal law of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Based on a true story, with a sensitively-written screenplay and a memorable soundtrack, this is a heartwarming story about overcoming adversity and discovering a true purpose in life. Ron Livingston does some of his best work to date, and his supporting cast is excellent, especially Melissa George as Richard's long-suffering girlfriend Christine, Michael Sheen as Richard's best friend Art whose debilitating cerebral palsy gives Richard an understanding of the indignities suffered by the disabled, and Yul Vazquez as Richard's Vietnam veteran friend Mike whose inability to fit into the civilian world eventually overwhelms him. If you enjoyed Forrest Gump you will probably really appreciate Music Within

Labels: biography, comedy, drama, music, romance, war

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 53/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=52, viewers=76)

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