Quilting with Ryder
With a thesis to write and her fiancee Sam (Dermot Mulroney) deciding to renovate their home, Finn (Winona Ryder) decides to head home to her Aunt Glady's (Anne Bancroft) for the summer where her Aunts and their friends have congregated to put together a quilt as a wedding gift for Finn. But like many young girls Finn has her concerns over marriage and settling down with just one person especially as she finds herself coming to the attention of the handsome Leon (Johnathon Schaech) who doesn't care that she is engaged. So she gets to listen to her aunt's and friends stories about love and how real life isn't like a fairytale where you don't have to work at being in love.
I don't remember the exact line but there is a scene early on in "How to Make an American Quilt" where Anna is telling Finn that a quilt is made up of all sorts of patches and her job is to make sure when they come together it isn't ugly. What she could have also said that her job is to make sure it doesn't seem too busy and that is in many ways the issue I have with this movie, it has too many characters and in turn too much going on because of that. Ironically I don't believe "How to Make an American Quilt" would have worked with fewer characters as it needs the diversity to bring all the lessons together but at the same time it could have been done better.
The thing is, is that "How to Make an American Quilt" is a simple movie as what we have is Finn's elderly relatives & friends telling her about their love life's in the past and how each was not with out its issues. To make things a little more complicated is the flirtations of Leon although his seduction technique using strawberries is cheesy, simply cheesy. But in the end it is all about Finn learning that love isn't a smooth road whilst friendships are strong.
But whilst "How to Make an American Quilt" ends up over crowded because of so many characters it does mean we have a plethora of actresses delivering beautiful performances. Yes you could say Winona Ryder is typecast again as the young woman who is writing as she does in so many movies but she plays that sort of role well whilst the likes of Ann Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn and Maya Angelou all bring the warmth and depth to the screen of their characters.
What this all boils down to is that "How to Make an American Quilt" is a sweet little movie full of charm and sensitive yet amusing performances. It's only trouble is one of over crowding as with so many characters it doesn't quite flow as well as it could.