Music Within (2007)
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Ron Livingston oh-so accurately portrays Richard Pimentel's passion and anger as he struggles with his own life and as he learns how to channel that passion to begin making a difference, not only for himself, but for all people. Mr. Livingston also manages to reflect Richard's manner; his facial expressions, his speech, and especially his "stage presence."
Michael Sheen, who portrays Art Honeyman, draws the audience in and makes us all believe that he has CP. His ability to do this, to really become Art, should certainly earn him an Oscar.
I would highly recommend that everyone see this very entertaining and thought-provoking movie.
The performances are really good. Ron Livingston does a great job as the lead. Michael Sheen delivers a dynamite turn as Art, a young guy ravaged by Cerabal Palsey. The wonderful trick he pulled off (I guess with the help of the Director) was being understandable when the character needed to be and still create the illusion he had CP. Another acting highlight was Yul Vasquez as this crazy vet Mike. Virtually every performance was solid. Hector Elizondo plays this College Speech Professor perfectly. Even Clint Howard shows up and scores.
For a little indie, it looks great and has a great period (50s, 60s and 70s) feel. No showboating, just right. The music they picked helps a lot.
It's one of those movies you go home, think about and call your friends the next day to tell them about it.
On the other hand, if that is not the real Pimentel in the extras, and Ron Livingston does look like him, then I do recommend this.
The music for this film really is amazing as well. The story is very inspiring and really makes you want to go out and make a difference in someone's life. It will be no surprise to see this film receive the great notoriety that it deserves. Also, I hope to see more films of this nature that promote the amazing lessons that you learn as you watch this film
At first I found the main character somewhat noble and captivating. His message about the disabled and the life time he spent fighting to have the disabled recognized and integrated into mainstream society's job market is great. And my problem isn't with the real person who did these things. HE was a great man. But this film is completely hypocritical and diametrically opposed to the very message it is preaching, that I found it insulting.
First of all, they didn't cast anyone in a title role with an actual physical disability. Sure they were competent actors, but it seems completely dis genuine to preach about hiring the disabled and then not actually HIRING THE DISABLED for anything in the film. Further compounded by the fact that in one scene mid way through the film a man is seen walking to a podium on crutches, appearing to have only one leg. But the CGI in this scene is so apparent it is shameful. What? They couldn't find an actual amputee anywhere for the film? For a 5 second shot it was more financially sound to do CGI effects than to just HIRE an ACTUAL amputee? At that point in the film I found it so fraudulent and completely against the message it was trying to convey that I came here to bitch and whine about it like the pathetic cripple I am.
Figure that out.
Similarly, in "Music Within", we get a supposedly deaf man, but after a 12-second montage of him learning to read lips, he is absolutely "normal". He understands people just fine (even when their backs are to him), and when they speak to him he looks them in the eye, not the lips (major oversight by actor Ron Livingston). And just like Geordi's visor, he has a mysterious device strapped to his telephone that makes him able to understand everything perfectly (even though we're repeatedly shown that $1000 hearing aids don't work for him).
Why am I making such a big deal of this seemingly insignificant point? Because it undermines the supposed message of the whole story: that disabled people are exceptional *in their own right*. By making the lead character a deaf person who can hear, by making Geordi a blind man who can see, Hollywood glosses over the reality of having a disability thereby reducing it to trivial.
And that's my gripe with this movie; it's has a very "ABC Afterschool Special" feel to it. The producers tackle a difficult subject but only superficially. Just enough to give us a rousing feeling of warmth.
Is that warmth, or is that just my colostomy bag springing a leak again? Sheesh.
Like several other reviewers, I give this movie a thumbs up for a great subject, but I give it a thumbs down for its clunky, superficial and slightly hypocritical presentation. The whole thing feels somewhat contrived.
The scenes showing discrimination are cartoonishly brutal, and it makes you think everyone in the 70s was a tactless creep. I was alive in the 70s, and while I fully agree that disabled people were overlooked, I never noticed the outright hatred that is portrayed in this film. And we're supposed to believe that the American Disabilities Act suddenly made people tolerant & friendly? That's a little too black&white for me to swallow.
On another note, I agree with what another reviewer said about casting Ron Livingston as Richard Pimmentel. The real Richard Pimmentel is a heavyset man. Why couldn't the producers cast someone who weighed 280 lbs like the real Pimmentel? Or did they themselves discriminate based on looks? Sheesh.
One day Hollywood will make a movie about disabled people and cast REAL disabled people. Until then, I won't be impressed by any lofty message they're trying to impart. We can applaud Michael Sheen all day for his portrayal of a man with Cerebral Palsy, but somewhere out there is an actor with real CP who's out of work because directors figure he's too much trouble to work with.
I found the Premiere for the seven o'clock showing on the way home from duty. Ironically, I was still in uniform.
I was able to meet Jon Livingston and Richard Pimentel and discuss my views with them.
This would be an inspirational movie for the troops at Ft. Hood.
Maybe it can be shown at Sergeant's Time training which is mandatory training every Friday?
Can this movie be downloaded off a payment link or provided via the DVD medium?
Superb performances throughout - Livingston carries this lightly and easily - and Martin Sheen is absolutely unrecognizable from his role as Tony Blair in the Queen and does a very good job.
This true story of the fight for rights for disabled citizens is not a heavy diatribe - it truly will have you laughing and cheering along.
Nice doses of cynicism, nothing too saccharine, and a great job by all involved.
The other case is when I have a bad film of a real life, presumably a noble life. I've watched two recently, both true stories of broken boys who died in the wild. Here we have something different: a living man, who I assume is considered to have done worthy things. I also assume that major facts are more or less true.
But its a disaster as a movie, and because it has no value reflects badly on a life. The basic problem of course is that what makes this man worthy of a film cannot make a worthy film. But the problems are deeper.
Its at least three films. One is about his relationship to his mother which is filmed in a fantastic and stylized manner with voice-over narration. A second is about his love affair. As with most such stories, this depends on the various attractions of the actress. Here it is a pretty girl, who is unique in being an Australian actress who cannot act. But she is pretty and sexy. This story works against the biography because even with her deficiencies (both as actress and character), she outshines her man.
The third movie is about the guy and his work, annotated by his friendships with the "handicapped," plus his own handicap.
In a better film, these three stories (plus the handicapping) would be integrated. They would weave into and enhance each other, warping suggestive texture and opening lacy opportunities for us to relate our own urges/lives.
But this doesn't.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
Hampered by pedestrian direction by Steven Sawalich and a superficial script, the film, nevertheless, boasts enough humorously sardonic moments to keep it from taking itself too seriously. The relationship between Richard and his longtime girlfriend Christine (played by Melissa George, who's a dead ringer for a young Sandy Dennis) is dealt with in trite and overly familiar terms, and the filmmaking itself never rises much above the level of disease-of-the-week, TV-movie competence.
Still, the performances are good - especially by Michael Sheen as Richard's best buddy, Art Honeyman, a genius with Cerebral Palsy - and the material itself so moving and inspiring that one can easily overlook the movie's numerous stylistic weaknesses. And, besides, you get to see the late great Leslie Nielson in one of his last - and briefest - appearances as a forward-thinking doctor who changes Richard's life forever.
I would prefer to have the pseudonym "jainso.UK" used as author as opposed to my my real name -if that is possible please.
Start of the movie was really great and Ron's brand of narration just rightly set the tone for the events to come. My interpretation of the movie was just the whole deal with disabled people until it came to that point when Ron's character drew the parallel between him and "them". The highs and lows to follow, did the story quite a lot of justice.
The ending was just absolutely breath-taking. It was soft and just concluded this ride with a whimper, but measured bang on the rechter scale.
This movie is here to win hearts of viewers and unlike many movies that i have watched lately, it is here to make a winning statement with perfection. Watch it and buy yourself a conscious, if you don't have one already.