How to Make an American Quilt

Synopsis: Finn is a young graduate student, finishing a master's thesis, and preparing for marriage to her fiance Sam. But thoughts of the end of the free life, and a potential summer fling, intrude. She goes home to her grandmother, where, over the making of her wedding gift by a group of quilting-bee friends, laughter, bickering, love, and advice lead her toward a more open-eyed examination of her course.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Jocelyn Moorhouse
Production: MCA Universal Home Video
  4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
117 min

For as long as I can remember...

... my grandmother and her friends

have been part of a quilting bee.

I remember sitting under the quilting frame

pretending that I was surrounded...

... by a forest of friendly trees,

and that their stitches...

... were messages from giants

written across the sky.

I used to spend my summers

with my grandmother and my great-aunt...

... who lived in Grasse, California.

My mother would dump me there

when she took off with her latest boyfriend.

My parents' marriage didn't last very long.

They said they didn't love each other anymore.

Or maybe they were just afraid

that their relationship...

... had become just like everyone else's.

They eventually parted as friends,

and I eventually stopped thinking...

... it was all my fault.

The truth is, it's no one's fault.

Sometimes love simply dies.

At this moment in time,

I'm working on my third...

... and, I hope, final attempt

at my master's thesis.

Whenever I'm about to finish,

I decide to switch topics.

I can't help it.

It seems the more I know about something...

... well, the less I want to know about it.

On top of that, my sweetheart Sam

is taking our home apart...

... and putting it back together

in some mysterious new form.

I've decided to go away for the summer.

This makes Sam nervous.

He thinks I'm leaving

because last night he proposed to me.

Sam's great and I really love him.

And I'm 26. This is not

an unreasonable age to get married.

Especially if you've found

your possible soul mate.

But how do you merge into this thing

called a couple...

... and still keep a little room for yourself?

And how do we even know

if we're only supposed to be with one person...

... for the rest of our lives?

The day Sam drove me

to my Great-aunt Glady's house...

... the Grasse Quilting Bee was there,

setting up to make a new quilt.

I don't know why we do this...

They've always met here at Aunt Glady's.

My grandmother moved in

after she lost her husband.

They've been fighting ever since.

Arthur's stuff is junk?

It's piled up there.

Everyone defers to Anna,

who is the master quilter.

She used to work for my Aunt Glady,

but these days it seems they're working for her.

My least favorite is Sophia.

When I was a little girl, she always made me cry.

And then there's Em, who's married to an artist,

and for some reason...

... that makes everyone feel sorry for her.

I always idolized Anna's daughter Marianna.

We have to move this.

She had lived in Paris

which made her very mysterious to me...

... when I was a kid.

She taught me French, made caf au laits.

And the year I got my period,

she gave me a glass of red wine.

Sam, I'm so happy to see you.

Thank you.

Let's move some furniture together.


Now I'm not lifting anything else.

I'll do whatever, but no lifting.

Shouldn't you be using a computer?

I don't trust computers.

- They lose things.

- Not if you know what you're doing.

- Sophia!

- What?

I made you a tape.

- All the songs have "road" in the title.

- Great. Thanks.

Are you gonna be okay with this?

Yeah, I'm fine.

I got lots to do, so, I'm fine.

So you'll come pick me up in September?


- Maybe not.

- You better.



The challenge with a quilt like this is...

...each of these squares

is made by different hands.

So I have to bring

all these different squares together... a balanced and harmonious...

First, we have to find a theme.

Now, for this particular quilt,

the theme is "Where Love Resides."

You put too much sugar in the iced tea.

I did not. It's got like a teaspoon and a half.

You put in a whole cup. I can taste it.

Give it a rest, will you?

Bicker, bicker, bicker, makes a gal age quicker.

What you're saying is,

by harmonizing all different elements...

... you're creating kind of

a continuity in the piece?

No. What I'm saying is...

...I don't want to end up

with some damn ugly quilt.

Sweetie, explain to us again

what kind of a book this is you're writing.

It's not a book. It's a thesis.

I'm looking at women's handiwork

in various tribal cultures...

...and I'm showing that how...

... making a basket, or a blanket,

or a digging stick, or whatever...

... it's all done with a sense of ritual.

I thought you were writing

something about the Victorians.

No, that was a different thesis.

- What happened to that one?

- I just became more interested in this subject.

- You didn't finish it?

- No.

Well, why not?

Chill, Sophia.

By the way, I spotted a fellow for Anna.

Does anybody know Frank Ipsey

who comes by here with the eggs?

Glady, Frank has cancer.

So you got me a sick one, too.

Finn, when are you gonna start having babies?

- My God, I don't know.

- Are you using protection?


Sophia, you filth-monger,

leave my grandniece alone.

So, this quilt you're working on, is this

something you're making for the state fair?

It's your wedding quilt, honey.

"Here comes the bride"

Grandma, do you mind if I play some music?

Hell, no.

Hey, Finn.

Hey, Constance.

- Sorry I'm late.

- Quite all right.

You want a smoke?

No, I don't think I'd better.

The hell if I know where love resides.

I don't know why your mother divorced

your father and then stayed friends with him.

If you still love each other,

why don't you just stay married?

Some people like to get a new car

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Jane Anderson

Jane Anderson (born c. 1954 in California) is an American actress-turned-award-winning playwright, screenwriter and director. She has written and directed one feature film, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005) and wrote the script for the Nicolas Cage film It Could Happen to You (1994). She won an Emmy Award for writing the screenplay for the miniseries Olive Kitteridge (2014). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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