The story of Richard Pimentel, as told in the movie, Music Within, will leave goose bumps on your arm and inspiration in your soul.
Pimentel is one of the great heroes of the disabilities rights movement, leading this country in the fight for equal opportunity for people of all abilities. The film shows that Pimentel (played by Ron Livingston) himself was a survivor.
Left in an orphanage as an infant by his mentally ill mother, (Rebecca de Mornay), Pimentel later discovers that he has a special gift for public speaking. But without a way to pay for college, he joins the Army and is shipped off to Vietnam. There, Pimentel is caught in the middle of a bombing raid. His hearing is ravaged. From this injury Pimentel finds his purpose in life.
He meets Art Honeyman (Michael Sheen), a sharp and witty observer of society who lives with cerebral palsy. Pimentel's friendship with Art and his firsthand encounters with discrimination fuel his drive to use his talents as a speaker and organizer, fighting for the rights of people with disabilities. He ultimately triumphs, helping to shape one of the most essential pieces of legislation in our nation's recent history--the American with Disabilities Act.
A compelling and entertaining film for all.
MGM, 94 mins., 2008, DVD. $27.98, or $19.99 on amazon.com.
Reviewed by Shawn O'Neail, associate vice president of Federal Government Relations for the National MS Society.