How to Make an American Quilt

1995 PG-13 1h 57m DVD

How to Make an American Quilt

1995 PG-13 1h 57m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Based on a novel by Whitney Otto, Jocelyn Moorhouse's directorial debut looks at relationships of all kinds -- romantic, platonic and familial. Finn Dodd (Winona Ryder), a graduate student having second thoughts about her fiancé (Dermot Mulroney) and marriage, spends the summer with her grandmother (Ellen Burstyn), her great-aunt (Anne Bancroft) and their quilting circle, whose life stories captivate the conflicted young woman.
Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Kate Nelligan, Alfre Woodard, Kaelynn Craddick, Sara Craddick, Kate Capshaw, Dermot Mulroney, Adam Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Rip Torn, Joanna Going, Claire Danes, Jean Simmons, Denis Arndt, Johnathon Schaech, Samantha Mathis, Derrick O'Connor, Jared Leto
Jocelyn Moorhouse
Widescreen 1.78:1
Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, French: Dolby Digital 5.1
PG-13 - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.
age 14+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 14+
age 14+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this girl-power-themed drama is heavy on the smoking, some drinking, and on illicit affairs. Several of the women cheat on their partners with others, including Hy sleeping with her sister's husband, Finn sleeping with Leon while engaged to Sam, and Constance sleeping with Ann's husband Dean. Dean is rumored to have had several affairs. The film also depicts the way in which women have had their dreams stifled by a society that wedded them to their home.

Sexual Content

Lots of heavy kissing among many partners and lots of discussion of love affairs. Some stripping and posing naked, though no breasts are shown. One illicit affair ends in pregnancy and desertion.


Glady throws statues at her husband in a fit of rage. Young Sophia jumps into the water and seems to drown.


Some salty language, including "damn," "s--t," "hell," "bulls--t," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "whore," and "asshole."

Social Behavior

The film depicts systemic sexism and racism that keeps women from following their dreams. Anna's mother steals back her quilt and gives it to Anna. But the film's moral, that you "have to go by instinct and you have to be brave," is a positive one.


Glady eats Dreyer's Ice Cream

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Several people smoke, including Finn and Constance. Hy and Glady smoke a joint. Dean smokes a pipe. Sophia's mom is drunk and belligerent.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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