PUSHING HANDS portrays the unique problems that occur when aging parents move in with their children creating an intense culture clash. The clash is between Caucasian Martha and her Chinese father-in-law, Chu, who does not speak one word of English. Martha works at home, writing her latest novel while her father-in-law watches loud Chinese programs and practices his tai chi exercises incessantly. Seemingly without dialog, the communication between Martha and her father-in-law completely breaks down until she develops an ulcer, and her husband is forced to re-evaluate the situation. He finally concludes that the arrangement is not working so he confronts his father. When he does, he finds out about the deep hurt his father feels as a result of his wife’s death and the persecution he suffered at the hands of the Communist government in China. An interesting development occurs, however, when Chu meets a widow, and both of their children encourage their relationship.
The movie combines real cultural differences with typical family problems and comes up with humor and realism. The most humorous scenes are the frequent mishaps into which Chu gets himself. The solutions to the problems are very realistic and have the potential to help those facing similar troubles. By throwing in humor and sincerity, the movie is a touching display of ways to deal with conflict.
(AC, A/D, L) Anti-communist, although not in so many words, yet Chu shares thoughts about his mental persecution; a man gets drunk in one scene; and, 2 obscenities.