How to Make an American Quilt

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

The uniqueness of a homemade quilt is the history behind its individual pieces. In HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT, seven ladies in a quilting bee design and create a beautiful quilt with the theme, Where love resides, for one of their member's granddaughter. Finn (Winona Ryder), a graduate student at Berkeley University, is struggling with both her thesis and her doubts about marrying Sam. She seeks refuge for the summer with her grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) in a small California town. Her great aunt (Anne Bancroft) and grandmother, both widows, have been quilting as long as Finn can remember. The confused girl observes the women busily making her wedding quilt. As she learns the history behind each square of memories, Finn decides to make quilting's role in our culture the subject of her thesis. With flashbacks, the film is a series of vignettes which, like the quilt, form a rich and colorful story. While primarily a woman's kind of story, HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT is a poignant, humorous look at how the past has influenced the present, and how our choices today will affect tomorrow.

The ladies are anything but restrained. Finn's great aunt and grandmother smoke pot on the front porch with her, giggling like school girls. One member of the quilting bee has been having an affair with the husband of another member, although it is not condoned. Finn lives with her boyfriend, which is treated as normal; however, her fling with a young local man is frowned upon. In the flashbacks, scenes of the seamstresses reveal they too had made some unwise choices. There are no graphic sex scenes, but it is implied several times, once with a teenage girl in her underwear. These incidents explain the pain these women suffered long ago. Their reminiscing helps them come to terms with feelings of guilt and resentment and enables them to forgive those who hurt them. The wife of an artist poses in the nude for him, with brief breast and rear nudity. They are also shown briefly in a bathtub together. Although this film has some worthwhile messages, it is marred by several obscenities and profanities, the pot-smoking grandmothers, the model's nudity and a brief glimpse of an erotic picture in a book.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (8) times - Mild 5, Moderate 3

Obscene Language: Several (6) times - S-word 4, other 2

Profanity: Several times - Regular 2 (G, J), Exclamatory 5

Violence: Once - property destruction (woman breaks dishes and other glassware in a fit of rage)

Sex: Implied several times, no nudity

Nudity: Few times (female breast and rear nudity; paintings of nudes; erotic picture of nude man in book)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (passionate kissing, couple in bathtub)

Drugs: Women smoke pot, cigarettes; some drinking

Other: Importance of lasting friendships and traditions

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults and older teens

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