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Music Within

4.5 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 his life's calling: helping others with disabilities, including his fellow veterans. Along with his best friend 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.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rebecca De Mornay, Hector Elizondo, Ron Livingston, Yul Vázquez, Michael Sheen
  • Directors: Steven Sawalich
  • Producers: Brett Donowho
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013LRKYO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,596 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Music Within" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 14, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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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.
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This movie was a surprise for me. Movies dealing with the ADA or IDEA or 504 are often dry and dull. They want to express the somber times people with disabilities were struggling through, which is commendable, but makes for dry cinema. Music Within is funny, witty, sarcastically vulgar. It made me laugh out loud.

For a person who works with people with disabilities, I have experienced first-hand how humor can get you through the tough times. Sometimes you need to just laugh! Laugh at yourself, your situation, the irony, and everything you can't control. This movie embodies that sentiment!

This movie should be required viewing. It brings about a troubling topic in such a stark, wonderful, charming way! Pimentel's CP friend is an incredible supporting character as well. Do yourself a favor- if you want to combine a great chuckle and enlightenment on the former (or not so former) plight of the disabled- check this out!
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Richard Pimentel is an important figure in civil rights history. The guy had a tough life that lead him to a tragic stint in Vietnam leaving Pimentel hearing impaired. His life changes in about 1971 when he meets Art who has cerebral palsy and is wheel chair bound. One evening Pimentel takes Art out for pancakes on his birthday, but the restaurant refuses to serve Art due to his unattractive condition. Rather than leave, the two stay willing to go to jail. The two go on a venture to help handicap get jobs and then help write and pass the most important civil rights legislation since the 60s, The American Disabilities Act that finally becomes law in the late 80s. A wonderful tribute to two men who have improved the lives of so many who were so in need of access, a job, and and a helpful hand up.
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