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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. Written by
Bruce Cameron <email@example.com>
How to Make an American Quilt is a nice comfortable movie, and unlike so many other films belonging to the 'coming of age' genre, it doesn't leave the viewer feeling emotionally drained. It is also unusual in that it attempts to breach the generation divide in its appeal; however its success in this respect is debatable.
Finn is 26 and, hoping for some peace and quiet in which to complete her Master's thesis, she heads for her great-aunt's house in small-town Grasse, California. She also needs time to mull over a marriage proposal from her boyfriend. This is an entrance cue for a smoulderingly handsome strawberry farmer (in an unnecessary plot complication) to hinder Finn's contemplations.
Great-aunt Glady-Joe lives with her sister, Hy, and their constant bickering is portrayed with sensitivity and humour by Anne Bancroft and Ellen Burstyn. The two sisters belong to a quilting group, who are in the process of creating Finn's wedding quilt - thematically titled 'where love resides'. This evokes something different for each of the women, all of whom - in artificially contrived tete-a-tetes - explain to Finn the story behind their contributions to the quilt. The viewer is transported to a time when these elderly women were young, and through them we (along with Finn) learn that times may change, but affairs of the heart will always be unpredictable.
These dalliances in the past are refreshingly piquant; unfortunately this is countered by the film's occasional heavy-handedness. The symbolic crow that leads the women to their true love has all the subtlety of a flashing neon sign. Ultimately however, even if it does perhaps tie up the loose ends too thoroughly, the film will leave the viewer pleasantly satisfied.
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