Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston) was born in Portland Oregon to a mother (Rebecca De Mornay) who pretty much lost her mind after having 7 miscarriages before Richard was born. She couldn't cope that a child had survived and drove him to California, giving him up to a catholic orphanage. 2 years later she remembered where she left him and went to fetch him and bring him back home. Soon after she returned, his father divorced them.
In 1969 a Chinese merchant named Del Fong took him under his wing until he died from a soy sauce accident. He then worked in a go-go girls restaurant trying to study as he realized he had a talent for public speech. The girls help get him dressed nicely for a visit to college to prove worthy of a scholarship. The College Bowl founder Dr. Ben Padrow (Hector Elizondo), loved his talent but tells him he has no heart in what he speaks. Discouraged he leaves and tries to find his true calling. He decides to enlist in the 1970 Vietnam War. There he becomes a hero and is decorated and while celebrating the victory, a missile lands on the tent and renders Richard deaf. Well not totally deaf, but he now suffers from tinnitus and can not hear most peoples voice from the ringing in his ears. But something good does come from it.
He meets Mike Stoltz (Yul Vázquez) who lost his leg in the war, and he and Mike begin to work with each other to find jobs for disabled vets. He also meets Art Honeyman (Michael Sheen) who has Cerebral Palsy but strangely he is able to hear Art's voice clearly between stutters. The two become friends and everywhere they go, people look at Art like a freak and don't want to be in the same room with him. He takes Art rollerskating in his wheel chair and literally runs into Christine (Melissa George) a hip free love sort of girl. The three become friends and after Art and he are refused service at a restaurant because Art looks too freaky and making people uncomfortable, he fights for the rights of disabled people.
In 1988 he starts a program called "Windmill" to help bring to light the ADA American w/ Disabilities Act and speaks and trains CIA agents, NASA and more to learn how to work with disabled people. When George Bush is elected president in 1992 he gets the act finally passed by Congress.
Richard and Art are still friends to this day. Unfortunately Mike took his own life still scared from the war. Today the "Perspectives" program Mike started for training and helping revolutionize the modern workplace, is in place in 23 countries.
Director: Steven Sawalich
Writers: Mark Andrew Olsen, Kelly Kennemer, Bret McKinney
Producers: Steven Sawalich, Brett Donowho