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Winona Ryder
Dermot Mulroney
Anne Bancroft
Jonathan Schaech
Alfre Woodard
Clair Danes
Ellen Burstyn
Maya Angelou
Kate Mulligan
Kate Capshaw
Samantha Mathis
Jean Simmons

Jocelyn Moorhouse




Time: 117 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama/Romance

I have to admit that I actually like Winona Ryder. She is purported to be the "actress of our generation", though I know many people who actively dislike her and any film she's in. I can understand why. Sometimes it seems like she's trying a bit too hard to be edgy and mysterious. The problem is she's not. She's this tiny thing that does much better in roles where she plays someone normal and confused. That's why I liked her in this film. I understand what they were trying to do with this film, but an American "Joy Luck Club" this ain't. It's a film about a spoiled young woman who escapes from her perfectly normal life to her grandmother's house because she thinks she isn't quite ready to settle down (even though she is). She constantly has troubles deciding what she wants to do with her life, mainly because she has too many choices. She soon learns from hanging out and listening to the women in her grandmother's quilting circle that life is more about the choices you don't make than the ones that you do. And that the love of a good, decent man who won't run out on you is something you shouldn't just casually toss aside.

Flynn believes that her life is set and once on that path that it is irrevocable. That her life is too boring, that she hasn't lived enough. Well, she soon learns truly "living" life isn't really for everyone. Most of us just need a small place to call our own and someone who's decent in bed to share it with. We all have times that we feel our lives aren't enough, but if we truly wanted to change things, we would. To add spice to her life (and to see if Dermot is really the one), Flynn sleeps with the local dark, amazingly endowed hunk, played by Jonathan Schaech. Now, he's the kind of guy we'd all like to take a one-night shot at (it's rare to come across real men who look like that), but is sleeping with him really worth ruining a perfectly good relationship? I think not. Men and women who are extremely good-looking are invariably more worried about themselves than your pleasure or needs, so I'm sure they're not that good in bed. I'm also sure once the newness wore off, there wouldn't be much left, especially if the main attraction to that person was physical.

"Young lovers seek perfection. Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches."

It was interesting to watch a film where the male/female roles were reversed (she was the one afraid of committment), but I have to believe that a woman would choose someone both mentally and physically attractive instead of just a male bimbo to sleep with to test the "is he really the one for me" theory. Granted she was in a small town and the pickings were slim, but talk about a dim bulb. That's not to say he didn't make me drool with delight. As long as he didn't talk, we'd get along fine. And it's not like Mulroney isn't attractive in his own right. I enjoyed the flashbacks to the early days of the older women where we learned why they were quilting what they were. The quilt was supposed to tell their stories of love and though none of them ended particularly happily, they ran the gamut of the kind of relationships one sees in life. They weaved these women's lives together in a rather subtle way, making the stories seem fresher than they were. I'm not sure Winona's character actually learned anything from them, but I certainly enjoyed hearing them. HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT isn't a very clever piece of work, but it's a nice way to meet new friends. It was great to see some of America's greatest actresses working on a film that not only takes women seriously, but gives them power as well.

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