How to Make an American Quilt (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this tender film, a group of women instruct a nervous bride with lessons from their own lives. Finn Dodd has returned to her hometown to escape her wedding preparations and write her thesis. While her friends and relations patiently stitch Finn's wedding quilt, each of them tells a story.
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MCA Universal Home Video

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Winona Ryder
as Finn Dodd
Anne Bancroft
as Glady Joe
Samantha Mathis
as Young Sophia
Kate Nelligan
as Constance
Lois Smith
as Sophia
Alfre Woodard
as Marianna
Adam Baldwin
as Finn's Father
Rip Torn
as Arthur
Claire Danes
as Young Glady Joe
Esther Rolle
as Aunt Pauline
Loren Dean
as Preston
Melinda Dillon
as Mrs. Darling
Joanna Going
as Young Em
Tim Guinee
as Young Dean
Alicia Goranson
as Young Hy
Maria Celedonio
as Young Anna
Denis Arndt
as James
Ari Meyers
as Duff
Jared Leto
as Beck
Holland Taylor
as Mrs. Rubens
Gail Strickland
as The Mrs.
Jane Alden
as Em's Mother
Will Nipper
as Boy at Party
David Williams
as Em's Father
Tamala Jones
as Anna's Great Grandmother
Harvey E. Lee Jr.
as Anna's Great Grandfather
Debra Sticklin
as Lady Guest
Charles Parks
as Male Guest
Will Estes
as Boy at Party
Jonah Rooney
as Boy at Party
Kaelyn Craddick
as Young Finn
Sara Craddick
as Young Finn
Brian McElroy
as Baby Pres
Michael McElroy
as Baby Pres
Paige Kettner
as Little Evie
Ryanne Kettner
as Little Evie
Annie Mae Hunter
as Little Duff
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Critic Reviews for How to Make an American Quilt

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (12)

It has its effective moments but it tends to indicate emotions more than deliver them, and is finally more conventional and unadventurous than its elements would lead you to believe.

Full Review… | August 2, 2016
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Dramatically, more ultimately proves less, and the jumble feels like it should have been torn apart and rethreaded with stronger material.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Ryder, as gamine as ever, delivers her most credible performance to date, while the luminous Simmons and imposing Angelou infuse the film with grace and understated charm.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This exceptional film takes the makings of a limp "women's weeper" and as if by magic, spins them into gold.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Flat out, "How to Make an American Quilt" is a wonderful movie -- soulful, funny, eccentric and filled with a love of female humanity.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

If you love those actresses, you'll probably love the film.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for How to Make an American Quilt

I watched this years ago and can remember being quite disappointed with it. Enough time has now gone by that I felt like a re-watch. Has it improved with age? Well, yes and no. First of all, it is a little on the dull side. I don't think the story of a young woman, Finn (Winona Ryder), who goes to stay with her older female relatives who are part of a quilting circle would be too many people's idea of riveting viewing. Finn is recently engaged and has cold feet, so she becomes interested in hearing about the romantic lives of her relatives and their friends, which she is also using as a thesis topic. In flashback form, we see the disappointments and hardships these strong women have faced, as well as the parts that made it seem worthwhile. It's sentimental and a little cliched in that way American movies seem to be, but it is nice in its way. I think maybe it's a film that improves with repeat viewings, as there are quite a few female characters here, plus their younger selves, it can get a little confusing as to who is who! The acting is excellent. A really good cast here. I think this is more a movie to appeal to an older female audience. Not one for young girls as they will be bored, as I was first time I watched this, I was not at an age to relate to the older women here. Men also, I think would be bored - even older ones! I recommend it, but with reservations. Maybe one to watch on tv !

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Winona visits her grandmonther and joins her sewing circle and learns about their relationships. Touching movie.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer


great actresses but it misses being being great by being too diffuse and ends up unsatisfying

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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