After realizing his gift as a public speaker, Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston
) tries out for his idol, founder of the College Bowl, Dr. Padrow (Hector Elizondo
), only to have him advise him to come back when he’s got “something to say.” Richard instead signs up for Vietnam.
After nine months Richard loses his hearing in the Vietnam War. But when the world tells him he can’t, he figures out how. Through a new circle of friends: a foul-mouthed genius with cerebral palsy, Art Honeyman (Michael Sheen); a free-loving bombshell, Christine (Melissa George); and a volatile, alcoholic veteran, Mike Stoltz (Yul Vasquez); Richard finds his “music within,” and discovers what Dr. Padrow had meant all along. Richard sets out to change perceptions toward the disabled community, ultimately becoming their hero as one of the primary activists behind the Americans with Disabilities Act.