Justin Kauflin is a young piano genius who lost his sight following a rare eye condition, but who continued to be praised by the likes of multi-millionaire record producer Quincy Jones and trumpeter great Clark Terry. Kauflin first met Terry while he was studying at William Paterson University, and soon went on to be mentored frequently by him. An extraordinary relationship begins between them, with Terry encouraging Kauflin's phenomenal talent and helping him to conquer his stage fright. Soon enough though, Terry needs support of his own as he himself starts to lose his sight. As Kauflin helps him through his deterioating condition, Terry becomes a beacon of strength to Kauflin as he gears up for one of the scariest events of his life: the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.
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The story of the witch-hunt has endlessly retold, usually laden with the same self-satisfied 20/20 hindsight that afflicts stories of the civil rights movement, and fortunately Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov see no need to go through it all again. With admirable precision, they've sliced away most all the accoutrements often used to open up the era for the modern viewer, ala Quiz Show. This is a film that takes place almost entirely inside a CBS studio and newsroom, with occasional trips to hallways, elevators, and a network executive's wood-paneled office. Once, they all go out to a bar. It's best in the studio, because that's where we find Murrow - incarnated with almost indecent accuracy by David Strathairn - looking and sounding like as though Rod Serling had decided to rejoin the human race, his manner clipped and astringent, cigarette cocked in one hand like a talisman warding off evil.
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