A tale of plucky amateur troupers overcoming obstacles to put on a show, this 1999 Japanese feature adds a new wrinkle to the hoary formula by setting its story in a tight-knit deaf community. The plot centers upon Asako, a young deaf housewife, and her ten-year-old daughter, who is taunted at school because she communicates with mom in sign language. Guilt ridden and hoping to dispel perceptions of her helplessness, Asako joins Hands, a theater company for the deaf that’s staging Beauty and the Beast. The troupe struggles against skepticism, veiled discrimination, and family discord, but a happy ending is assured. A collaboration between a hearing director (veteran Yutaka Osawa) and a deaf one (Akihiro Yonaiyama), the film is occasionally maudlin but never condescending. In Japanese with subtitles. 112 min.