The Music Within is a good natured, well constructed movie that probably should have gotten more notice than it did when it was released in theaters. It tells the story of Richard Pimentel, a Vietnam vet who lost his hearing while serving in the Army, only to take that disability and, through his work in constructing what would become the Americans With Disabilities Act, finally find the purpose he’d been looking for his entire life.
Ron Livingston plays Pimentel, turning in a solid performance that’s hampered only by the fact that only his hair changes over the 20-plus years the movie’s story spans. But he does a good job of translating Pimentel’s journey over that time from dissatisfied and directionless to someone who, at the end, finally is at peace with himself and his life.
Accompanying him on the journey between those two points are Art, a man suffering from cerebral palsy who is the only person Richard can understand, and Christine, Richard’s girlfriend through college and beyond until she can no longer put up with his putting work before her. Of the two of them Art is the infinitely more interesting character since it’s really people like him, as well as other disabled vets like himself, that Richard is working on behalf of.
The Music Within does not really contain that one showy scene that other inspirational movies often cram in like power chords at a Styx concert. Instead it’s just a solid, even movie that moves from one point to the next easily. It’s a bit choppy in places in terms of pacing but for the most part it’s very nicely put together.
I’d definitely recommend checking The Music Within out, primarily on the strength of Livingston’s performance in the lead role.
The DVD, which I was sent a screener copy of, contains a good amount of bonus material. That includes commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and a good amount of deleted scenes.