Synopsis by Mark Deming
A young woman at a crossroads in her life finds herself receiving plenty of advice from her older and wiser counterparts in this drama. Finn Dodd (Winona Ryder) is a graduate student trying to finish up her doctoral thesis on women's folk art while deciding if she should marry her fiancé Sam (Dermot Mulroney); she's not sure if she's ready to settle down, and suspects that Sam is unfaithful to her. Needing time to sort things out, Finn chooses to spend the summer with her grandmother Hy (Ellen Burstyn) and great aunt Gladys Jo (Anne Bancroft). Hy and Gladys Jo are avid quilters, and with a group of their friends, they work on a special quilt for Finn's wedding; as the women work together, they share stories of their lives, and Finn finds herself learning as much from hearing them talk as she does from her schoolwork. Finn also receives a visit from her free-spirited mom Sally (Kate Capshaw) and finds herself infatuated with a good looking young man who lives nearby. Maya Angelou plays one of the quilters, as do Kate Nelligan, Jean Simmons, and Alfre Woodard. How to Make an American Quilt was the directorial debut of Jocelyn Moorhouse, and was based on a novel by Whitney Otto that itself began as a doctoral thesis.
advice, fiancee, folk-art, graduate-student, grandmother, quilt, wedding, women