Pushing Hands (1991) poster
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 16 users
# of Watchers: 48
Reviews: 1 user
Ranked #16660
Popularity #99999
Watchers 16

Mr. Chu is a Tai Chi master who arrived from Taiwan in order to live in the U.S. together with his son Alex and his family. While educating his grandson Jeremy, Mr. Chu is unable to communicate with Alex’s wife, Marta, who is an aspiring writer and desires peace and quiet at home. Mr. Chu finds it increasingly difficult to live within Western culture, but he seeks solace in contact with Mrs. Chen, a cooking instructor at a Chinese Community Centre. The family drama escalates to such a degree that Mr. Chu leaves the house in order to find luck on his own on the streets of New York. Edit Translation

  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Norsk
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Dec 7, 1991
  • Duration: 1 hr. 40 min.
  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 16 users)
  • Ranked: #16660
  • Popularity: #99999
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older

Cast & Credits


Pushing Hands (1991) photo
Pushing Hands (1991) photo
Pushing Hands (1991) photo
Pushing Hands (1991) photo
Pushing Hands (1991) photo
Pushing Hands (1991) photo


0 people found this review helpful
Jan 27, 2022
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.5
This review may contain spoilers

Part 1 of Director Ang Lee trilogy on "Father Knows Best"

Director Lee’s trilogy ("Father Knows Best") in bringing together family members to create tension and tender comedic moments shine in this trio of Pushing Hands (1991), The Wedding Banquet (1993). and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994).

The movie begins with senior Mr Chu (Lung Sihung, who is in all three of this trilogy) trying to pass his day without getting in the way of his daughter-in-law Martha Chu (Deb Snyder, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0811438/), who is suffering physical and psychiatric problems after her father-in-law has lived with her and her husband/his son Alex Chu (Wang Bo Zhao) for only a month.

Neither senior Mr. Chu or Mrs. Chu are really trying to do anymore than "tolerate" each other. Mrs. Chu doesn't eat right and she cannot tolerate his Chinese traditional movies, and senior Mr. Chu spends his time "Pushing Hands" Tai Chi and watching traditional Chinese movies without headphones and getting on his daughter-in-law's nerves, causing her writer's bloc on her second book.

Junior Mr. Chu is stuck in the middle, trying to see both of his loved one's viewpoint but doesn't have the time to do any more than 'referee' his Significant Others' relationship with each other; he has worked hard in college and also now in his job to provide for his family and to bring his father (senior Chu) to America after years of his father's working hard to get him, his son, through college. He believes in his filial piety of caring for his father in his father's old age.

Caught in the middle of the adults' love-hate triangle is senior Mr. Chu's grandson, Jeremy Chu (Haan Lee) who only sees glimpses of the three adults interacting in the afternoon after school and on weekends. He misunderstands his grandfather's diagnosing people with his ancient Chinese techniques, thinking he is hurting them instead.

A couple of unrelated incidents causes Mr. Chen to try to set his father up with another older Chinese lady, who escaped to Taiwan with her former husband after the Communist takeover of the mainland.

Mr. Chu, realizing his effect on his son's household, takes off for NYC and gets a job and small apt here. I will let you find out what happens next when you watch the movie.

I love this movie since Ang Lee likes to place "twists" near the end of his movies, changing everything around; you know nothing about what is going to happen until director Ang Lee pulls his switch-a-roo on you!\

The main characters are believable in their roles, especially junior Mr. Chu, who becomes more troubled as his wife and father continue to butt heads together every day.

Support characters also pass themselves off as competent, adding depth to the developing main characters as they interact with them in this movie. Special mention should be made of the main female support actress, Wang Lai, who appears as Mrs. Chen a widowed cooking instructor at the Chinese neighbor center and 'wiggles' her cooking class into sharing the gym where senior Mr. Chu's Tai Chi classes are being held!

I had already seen the last two parts of this 3-part series and both of them have plot twists near the end: Ang Lee did not fail me here,, as this movie also has a plot twist that changes everything you thought you knew about what might happen next!

The music is really good, being used as a segway in some places; also, the cinematography is great as well: you find yourself in a world by and for Chinese expats where young professional Chinese are able to live the American way but still hold on to many of the traditional Chinese values that they want their children to obtain and imparted by their older relative expats.

My only complaint is that it would had been a '10' movie had Mr. Lee had invested in more time (ie, longer movie) telling us about the main characters, letting us see why certain things happened the way they did.

All in all, I recommend all three of these movies if you ever have time, love family movies or love plot twists near the end!

I have already watched other films by Ang Lee, including the last two of this trilogy an others; I just wasn't aware of his being their director or how talented his directing was!

This movie may be watched as a separate movie or as a part of Ang Lee's trilogy; either way, it is a great movie that should make Ang Lee proud for decades to come!

It is available for free online.

Re-WATCH VALUE: Definitely!

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  • Movie: Pushing Hands
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Release Date: Dec 7, 1991
  • Duration: 1 hr. 40 min.
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older


  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 16 users)
  • Ranked: #16660
  • Popularity: #99999
  • Watchers: 48

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