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Music Within - drama DVD review
MUSIC WITHIN Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Ron Livingston, Melissa George, Michael Sheen, Rebecca De Mornay
Director: Steven Sawalich   Studio: MGM
DVD release: 08 April 2008   Runtime: 94 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Subtitles (English, Spanish), Audio Tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Surround - Spanish, French); Audio commentary by director/producer Steven Sawalich, writer Kelly Kennemer and producer Brett Donowho; The making of the music featurette; Richard Pimentel tell his story; Deleted scenes

Music Within is one of those movies that everyone should be talking about, but it seems to be flying under the radar. It has a cheeky, irreverent vibe, while delivering a potent message of understanding and acceptance. Rare though it is these days, Music Withinoffers entertainment with integrity as it shares the story of one man's life.

The story is meaningful, touching and thought-provoking, but with enough humor sprinkled throughout to belay any preachy feel it might have had. Music Within tells the true story of the Richard Pimentel, who fought for the rights of the disabled in America. It began with his own experience: being wounded in Vietnam and returning from the war deaf. His mission changed the lives of every man and woman who has a disability in our country. Ron Livingston is very believable as Richard. He has the presence and acting-eyes to play him well. He has been in several television shows as a guest star: Sex and the City, The Practice, and was Captain Nixon in Band of Brothers. This role is a real achievement, though.

Supporting actor Michael Sheen really makes the show. Having seen him act in other films (Timeline, for example, as an arrogant Lordling), I was blown away by his performance as Art. He is a genius with cerebral palsy, and Sheen gets it dead on. Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman) has a small but important role, and Rebecca De Mornay (The Three Musketeers) plays Richard's troubled schizophrenic mother. Melissa George, who was a wonderfully twisted character in Alias, is charming as his college girlfriend.

The music is incredible, well-suited to each scene it is paired with. The dialogue is well-written and just superbly acted. A slight direct-to-video quality about it does detract a little from the finished piece. It doesn't impair is so much so as to hinder the out-loud laughter and tears that are shed while watching it.

All in all, Music Within is definitely a movie everyone should see - truly one of the most incredible films made in 2007.
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reviewed by Carolynn Evans
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