CINEMA: LEFTOVER LIVES

A QUILTING BEE PROVIDES THE SETTING FOR ARCHETYPAL TALES

Men stray from domesticity and tend to die prematurely. Women are victimized by both of these predilections and devote their leftover lives to regrets, resentments and needlework.

That's pretty much the message of How to Make an American Quilt, as received by Finn (Winona Ryder), a graduate student who spends a small-town summer with her grandmother and aunt (Ellen Burstyn and Anne Bancroft), working on her thesis and getting her head together. As things work out, she seems to devote most of her time to gathering instructive reminiscences from them and the rest of the ladies in their quilting bee. They...

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