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Film / How to Make an American Quilt

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A 1995 drama film adapted from Whitney Otto's novel of the same name, directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and featuring an ensemble cast including Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Kate Nelligan, Alfre Woodard, Maya Angelou, Samantha Mathis, Dermot Mulroney, Rip Torn, Claire Danes, and Mykelti Williamson.

Finn Dodd (Ryder) is a young graduate student, finishing a master's thesis and preparing for marriage to her fiancé Sam (Mulroney). 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.


This film contains the following tropes:

  • Awful Wedded Life: While many of the marriages had issues, Sophia's was particularly bad. Her husband was always flitting off for work, leaving her all alone to raise their baby.
  • The Atoner: Hy after she sleeps with Glady's husband.
  • Cool Big Sis: Marianna is this for Finn.
  • Happily Married: Constance and Howell are probably the only couple whose relationship wasn't screwed up. They were very happy together. Until he died, leaving her a widow.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Sophia is bitter and has made Finn cry in the past, but the only reason she's like this is because of her bad marriage.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: People think that Dean and Constance are sleeping together since they'd been spending time together after Howell died. While Dean offered, Constance said no.
  • One True Love: Marianna believes that the man she met in Paris is her soul mate.
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  • Really Gets Around: Marianna has had many lovers.
  • Straw Feminist: Finn, at one point.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Dean.
    • Hy also sleeps with Glady's husband.


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