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When a desperate car dealer advertises a competition with a simple premise — that each contestant must keep one hand on a car at all times, and the last one standing will drive away the owner of a new Land Rover — he sets in motion a chain of events that brings together an oddball group of individuals, each with a desperate need to win.

For the contestants, this publicity gimmick represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to break records, and to prove themselves in an unlikely test of endurance. It pits the patience of an elderly night watchman against the youthful vigor and carefully cultivated stamina of a high school track-and-field star. It sets a single mother who spends her life on her feet against a down-on-his-luck Mensa member who tells anyone who will listen that he’s got the whole thing figured out. As the days and nights unavoidably carry on — and big talk and clever strategies backfire — the contestants’ true colors come through in unexpected twists.

At once lyrical and suspenseful, and by turns poignant and hilarious, Show of Hands and its all-too-human characters are ultimately unforgettable.

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