How to Make an American Quilt (1995) - full transcript

Finn is a young graduate student, finishing a master's thesis, and preparing for marriage to her fiance Sam. 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.


FINN: For as long as I can remember...

my grandmother and her friends
have been part of a quilting bee.

I remember sitting under the quilting frame
pretending that I was surrounded...

by a forest of friendly trees,
and that their stitches...

were messages from giants
written across the sky.

I used to spend my summers
with my grandmother and my great-aunt...

who lived in Grasse, California.

My mother would dump me there when she
took off with her latest boyfriend.

My parents' marriage didn't last very long.

They said they didn't
love each other anymore.

Or maybe they were just afraid
that their relationship...

had become just like everyone else's.

They eventually parted as friends,
and I eventually stopped thinking...

it was all my fault.

The truth is, it's no one's fault.

Sometimes love simply dies.


FINN: At this moment in time,
I'm working on my third...

and, I hope, final attempt
at my master's thesis.

Whenever I'm about to finish,
I decide to switch topics.

I can't help it.

It seems the more I know about something...

well, the less I want to know about it.

On top of that, my sweetheart Sam
is taking our home apart...

and putting it back together
in some mysterious new form.

I've decided to go away for the summer.

This makes Sam nervous.

He thinks I'm leaving
because last night he proposed to me.

Sam's great and I really love him.

And I'm 26. This is not
an unreasonable age to get married.

Especially if you've found
your possible soul mate.



FINN: But how do you merge into this thing
called a couple...

and still keep a
little room for yourself?

And how do we even know if we're
only supposed to be with one person...

for the rest of our lives?



FINN: The day Sam drove me
to my Great-aunt Glady's house...

the Grasse Quilting Bee was there,
setting up to make a new quilt.

FINN: They've always
met here at Aunt Glady's.

My grandmother moved in
after she lost her husband.

They've been fighting ever since.

GLADY: Arthur's stuff is junk?
HY: It's piled up there.

FINN: Everyone defers to Anna,
who is the master quilter.

She used to work for my Aunt Glady,

but these days it seems
they're working for her.

My least favorite is Sophia.

When I was a little girl,
she always made me cry.

And then there's Em,
who's married to an artist,

and for some reason...

that makes everyone feel sorry for her.

I always idolized Anna's daughter Marianna.

FINN: She had lived in Paris
which made her very mysterious to me...

when I was a kid.

She taught me French,
made café au laits.

And the year I got my period,
she gave me a glass of red wine.

GLADY: Sam, I'm so happy to see you.
SAM: Thank you.

GLADY: Let's move some furniture together.
SAM: Sure.

EM: Now I'm not lifting anything else.
I'll do whatever, but no lifting.

SOPHIA: Shouldn't you be using a computer?
FINN: I don't trust computers.

-They lose things.
-Not if you know what you're doing.


I made you a tape.

-All the songs have "road" in the title.
-Great. Thanks.

FINN: Are you gonna be okay with this?
SAM: Yeah, I'm fine.

I got lots to do, so, I'm fine.

So you'll come pick me up in September?


-Maybe not.
-You better.

SAM: Bye. FINN: Bye.

ANNA: The challenge with
a quilt like this is...

each of these squares
is made by different hands.

So I have to bring
all these different squares together...

in a balanced and harmonious...


First, we have to find a theme.

Now, for this particular quilt,
the theme is "Where Love Resides."


You put too much sugar in the iced tea.

HY: I did not. It's got
like a teaspoon and a half.

GLADY: You put in a whole cup.
I can taste it.

Give it a rest, will you?

Bicker, bicker, bicker,
makes a gal age quicker.

FINN: What you're saying is,
by harmonizing all different elements...

you're creating kind of
a continuity in the piece?

No. What I'm saying is...

I don't want to end up
with some damn ugly quilt.


Sweetie, explain to us again
what kind of a book this is you're writing.

It's not a book. It's a thesis.

I'm looking at women's handiwork
in various tribal cultures...

and I'm showing that how...

making a basket; Or a blanket;
Or a digging stick, or whatever...

it's all done with a sense of ritual.

I thought you were writing
something about the Victorians.

No, that was a different thesis.

-What happened to that one?
-I just became more interested in this subject.

-You didn't finish it?

Well, why not?

Chill, Sophia.

By the way,
I spotted a fellow for Anna.

Does anybody know Frank Ipsey
who comes by here with the eggs?

Glady, Frank has cancer.

So you got me a sick one, too.


Finn, when are you
gonna start having babies?

-My God, I don't know.
-Are you using protection?


Sophia, you filth-monger,
leave my grandniece alone.

So, this quilt you're working on, is this
something you're making for the state fair?

It's your wedding quilt, honey.


EM: [SINGING] "Here comes the bride..."


Grandma, do you mind if I play some music?

HY: Hell, no.


Hey, Finn.

Hey, Constance.



-Sorry I'm late.
-Quite all right.

MARIANNA: You want a smoke?

No, I don't think I'd better.

The hell if I know where love resides.

GLADY: I don't know
why your mother divorced

your father and then
stayed friends with him.

GLADY: If you still love each other,
why don't you just stay married?

HY: Some people like to get a new car
every other year.


Here you go.

Oh, Hy, look what you did.

HY: Well, we're all family.

You know,
when your mother and father got married...

they were very immature.

Which isn't the same case with you and Sam.

You know what Mom said to me once?

-She's so crazy. How'd she get so crazy?
-Don't look at me.

FINN: She said that as soon as I get
married, I'm gonna want to have an affair.

HY: She doesn't know
what she's talking about.

That which is forbidden...


Don't be such a cynic.

I'm not.

My grandniece wants to know...

why the marriage vow
is considered such a sacred thing...

when, in fact,
to most people it means nothing at all.

I took my marriage very seriously.

HY: You were too young to remember
your grandpa, but he and I had...

a very special love for each other.

Which I'm sure even your Aunt Gladiola
was aware of.

Very much aware.

That's what made the
whole thing so stunning.

Why are you bringing this up right now?

You brought it up.

Fine. You want to tell her?
Tell her. I don't care.

Tell me what?

Was this a mistake, letting you smoke?
HY: Oh, no, sweetie.

If I weren't a little high right now...

I'd have your aunt on the floor,
beating her senseless.


-You're gonna need a lot more than that.
-Shut up.

All right, I'll tell you what happened.

But I'd like to say one thing first,
with your aunt's permission.

GLADY: Be my guest.


When you've spent your life with someone...

and they start to die...

and you feel this terrible, terrible...


So you do things without thinking...

HY: Because what you
have to face is so...

deeply unthinkable.

Could I use your phone, please?



Arthur Cleary.

HY: Arthur; Where's Glady?
I called your house and she didn't answer.

ARTHUR: Hy, is that you?
HY: Yes.

What's wrong?

HY: Is Glady with you?

No. She must be out shopping.
James didn't...

[CRYING] No, he's still here, I just...

[SOBBING] I need
someone to come pick me up.


I've got to get back to the office soon.

-What if I take you to our house?

All right. Okay.

I have to lie down before I go back.

You know, find me a tree.
I need some peace before I go back.



I was at the hospital today.
James didn't know where you had gone.

GLADY: I told him you had to go to town
for something. He was quite upset.

I know. He told me.

I just find it odd that you just left the
hospital without even leaving him a note.

That you just took off
for a ride with my husband.



Glady, what are you doing?

Honey, what are you doing?

Come on.



I don't want to hear a
word out of either of you!

You stink of her perfume!

ARTHUR: Oh, shit.


ARTHUR: Glady?


Can't we work this out?


ARTHUR: If you want me to go away,
I'll do it.

But if you want me to stay,
that's what I want.

What's happened to our marriage?

I mean, it's been so long
since we even shared the same bed.

ARTHUR: It's been hard on me, sugar.
What do you want me to do?

[YELLING] She's my sister!


[SCREAMING] She's my sister!





Oh, sweetheart.



What the hell are you doing?

I'm trying to find
something I haven't smashed.


ARTHUR: Honey, I'm going to work now.

As you wish, dear.

ARTHUR: Sweetheart, this is really
kind of creepy, you know.

Can't you just toss all that junk out?

Self-expression heals the wounded heart.

ARTHUR: Glady, for God's sake.

Here, you can iron your own.



ARTHUR: Glady...

-Aren't you ever going to forgive me?
-You made your own bed.

Don't you understand why I did it?

Frankly, the reason eludes me.

Your sister was the closest...

I could get to you.

GLADY: Get out! Get out!

FINN: Wow!

FINN: You must have been angry
for a really long time.

GLADY: Your grandmother
won't come in here,

so I'm stuck with doing all the laundry.

FINN: Did Grandpa ever find out?

I had decided to tell him everything.

GLADY: Let the man die enlightened.

I was crazy, Finn.

I would've done anything.

WOMAN ON P.A.: Dr. Walton,
please call the operator.

HY: Sweetheart.

[WHISPERING] That's my darling.


I brought ice cream.

Thank you.

Did you ever forgive Uncle Arthur?

Yeah. I forgave him.

That's what you do when someone dies.

Did you ever forgive Grandma?


I let her move in with me.

That is not necessarily the same thing.


I'm sleepy. I'm going to bed.

-Good night, honey.


By the way, it was so
good of you to take me in.

Good night, dear.


HY: Honey, it's too hot to work.
Come on. Come swimming with us.

Good girl.

FINN: I just have to grab my bathing suit.


[SINGING] "Baby, love me."

"Yes, yes she does."

"Ah the girl's outta sight, yeah."

"Says she loves me."

"Yes, yes she does."

Come on.

[SINGING] "Gonna show me tonight, yeah."

HY: "She got the way to move me, Cherry."

"She got the way to groove me.

"She got the way to move me.

"Cherry baby.

"She got the way to groove me"'

Look at that. That old dog.

-Dean, I'm watching you.
-Just talking, Glady. Just talking.

GLADY: Just talking. Just talking, my foot.

DEAN: Nice 'do. EM: Hi.

GLADY: Cute hair, Em.
DEAN: Em, you look beautiful.

GLADY: Just imagine what
he's talking about.

VENDOR: There you go.
GIRL: Thank you.

VENDOR: You're welcome.

GUY: Oh, man, what's going on?

What is he doing up there?

I've been standing here...

it seems it's been about 15 minutes.


LEON: You know what I just did? I just
did 30 laps doing the butterfly stroke.

-You know what my arms feel like right now?

They feel like I could take off and fly.

-So are you in training?
-Yeah. I'm gonna be an ocean swimmer.


What's your name?


Like on a fish?

No, with a double "n."
It's one of those weird hippie names.

No, it's a beautiful name.


That's the thing that
slices through the water.

That's the thing
that gives the fishes their speed.


LEON: Why have I never
seen you here before?

I'm just here for the summer.

-You're from the city.

-Where the smart people live.
-Not really.

I can tell you're one of them.


-Long line.

You know, I'm really hot.
I'm gonna go jump in the water.

My name's Leon.

Okay, Leon. See you later.

BOY: Hey, you want to go in the deep end?

-Who was that young man we saw you with?
-Just someone who wanted to talk.




SOPHIA: Little girls!

That's not allowed!

-Sophia is still scaring children.
-That's how she lives so long.

You should've seen her
when she was your age.

My God, she had a stunning figure.




I'm Preston Richards.

What's your name?



Sophia Darling.

-Did you say "darling"?
-Yeah. Like the family in Peter Pan.

I thought...

I thought that...


I thought that you called me darling.

-Oh, God, no.
-"Oh, God, no."

I like your name. I like it very much.

Do you now?

PRESTON: When we marry,
we'll break tradition so you can keep it.

Excuse me?

Do you dive competitively?


I just do it for myself.

I like the sensation of falling.

You swim like a mermaid, you know.

I do?

So, what do you want to do with your life?

I don't know.

Marry you, I guess.


MRS. DARLING: A college boy, that's good.

But listen, honey,
you let him do most of the talking.

Men, especially smart men,
they like a good listener.

Ma, don't!

It's all right to shine a little, though.

MRS. DARLING: Men like to think
that they've found a treasure.

-It's only a date. I'm not gonna marry him.
-You never know.

You never know if this is the one.

I love you, baby,
but you're just not pretty enough...

to be on your own.

SOPHIA: Good night.
PRESTON: Good night, Mrs. Darling.

MRS. DARLING: These bugs
are gonna eat you alive.

You keep your delicate parts covered.

SOPHIA: I'll get my door.

It's a hotsy-totsy night tonight.

I made a dinner reservation for 7:30.
Is that all right?

I've got a better idea.

SOPHIA: Be careful!

Good night, Preston.





This is where I usually come to swim.

SOPHIA: You like it?

I'm a geologist. I mean,
that's my major. Rocks.

SOPHIA: God! I'm sorry, I didn't even ask.
PRESTON: No, that's all right.

SOPHIA: No, I shouldn't have been doing
all the talking.

SOPHIA: So tell me more.

PRESTON: Well, all right.

This is what I'd like to do.

I'd like to travel over the whole planet,
and study every part of her.

Especially where rock is met up with water.

That's where you get
the most spectacular effects.

That's when you get the Grand Canyon.

There's nothing like water
to wear down a mountain...

and open up its secrets to you.

You know, in Arizona they...

Stay right there.

Don't move.





Let's go around the world together.

I'll study rocks.

You can swim down to the bottom of canyons.

Swim across the middle of old volcanoes.

Get me away from here.


Where you going this time?

They want to send me up to Colorado
to check out the site of a dam.


Pres, I'm not gonna raise this child alone.

You have to get a job in town.

Sophia, I can't spend my life
doing soil tests for farmers.

And I can't be left
behind like some old bag.

Look, as soon as the baby gets a
little older, you can come along, too.

And before that,
how do I know you won't run off?

Why would I do that?

That's what you say now.

Sophia, this is crazy.
Why would I run away?

Because it happens.


DUFF: Are you gonna be away
for very long, Daddy?

PRESTON: Not so long, sweetheart.
Two or three weeks.

-I want to go to college.
-We can only afford to send one of you.

-It's more important for Pres Jr. to go.
-But I'm the oldest.

A girl doesn't have to go to college.
You can get married.

That's not what I want.

We don't always get what we want.

-What's that?
-It's a pond.

For you.

I thought you could wade around in it or...

keep fish in it,
or whatever you want.

I think it's deep enough.


What do you think about
getting some goldfish?

Evie says she wants a goldfish.

Remember when you took me
to the swimming hole?

Why'd you stop going?

I became a wife, I guess.



Let's go down to the swimming hole.





FINN: So, what happened?

He never came back.

HY: Oh, look, Sam is here.
SAM: Hi.

Hi, Sam.

-So, how come you're here?
-I missed you.

SAM: I wanted to go over the house.
HY: We've got plenty.

-Sam, are you staying to dinner?

HY: Good. GLADY: Great.

SAM: If you'll have me.
HY: Oh, yeah.

-Did you go swimming?

SAM: I took this wall out here
between the kitchen and the dining room.

-And you see this section here?

-That's for your office.
-No, I told you I want a separate room.

Yeah, I know.

I tried to work it out,
but the house really isn't big enough.

-What about this?
-That would be a guest room.

Well, screw the guests.
Let them sleep on the couch.

I just thought we
should have an extra room...

for whatever.
If we have a baby or for work space or...

This is the baby's room?

No, it's just a possible
use of the space, is all.

You expect me to have babies right away?

No, I don't expect you to do anything.

You just said this is the baby's room.

Finn, we're just going over blueprints.



Does that mean you don't want to have kids?

Not right now, no.

Do you mean not right now, or never?

Why is this something
I have to answer right now?

SAM: If you don't want to have kids,
we should talk about it.

Fine, Sam. But you know,
this isn't something...

I want to be thinking about right now.
I'm trying to finish my paper.

-You went swimming.

So, obviously, you have time
for other things besides work.

FINN: Oh, man, I can't...

I can't believe this.

-You came to spy on me?
-I can't believe this attitude you're giving me.

You were supposed to give me three months.

Three months to get my head together.

FINN: And here you are,
what, two weeks later?

SAM: That's bullshit.

You're getting cold feet.

FINN: Oh, man.

You are.
I can see that look on your face.

FINN: What look?

That look.

SAM: The same look your mother gets

when she's gonna dump
one of her boyfriends.

That look. Oh, please!
"What am I doing with a carpenter?"

"Why don't I get somebody better? Smarter?"

"Somebody who doesn't
even care about me?"

You are so wrong! So wrong.

Am I?

All right. Whatever. Let's just do this.

I'm not like my mother, Sam.

Okay, the extra room would be your office,
and you want...

SAM: Whatever.

Want a built-in desk or shelves?
What do you want?

I don't care.

"Doesn't care."


GLADY: Will you be
spending the night, Sam?

No, I don't think so.

FINN: Sam!

Don't drive crazy just
'cause you're mad at me.


This is the machine.

You know what to do.


Hi, it's me again.

Are you there?

Are you there?

Okay, well...

I just wanted to call and say...

that I'm really...

sorry about the fight we had.

I'm just...

sorry for being such a horrible...


Hello, who is this?



SOPHIA: Hi, sleepyhead.

Wish I could stay in bed that long.

SOPHIA: What's going on with her?

She was up all night trying to call Sam.

GLADY: Some girl answered.

ANNA: Oh, dear, that sounds bad.
HY: Not necessarily.

GLADY: I don't know. Everything is...

I don't like any of these colors.

I don't like this color. I don't
like that color. I just can't...

ANNA: Try this. GLADY: I can't.

GLADY: I don't like this,
and I don't like that.

ANNA: Fine.

EM: Honey?

-May I join you?

I'm sure you know about this little
involvement between my husband and...


This isn't the first
time he's fooled around. No.

Dean is not a conventional man.

He's an artist. He acts out.

He's been acting out
since the first month we were married.

Then why have you stayed with him so long?

I've lived all my life in this town...

and being married to Dean...

makes me feel unusual.


EM: Oh, Dean.

EM: Dean won't drink American coffee.

He makes us go all the way to San Francisco
to the Italian section to get it.

Where is he right now?


EM: He's in his studio with a student.


What's that supposed to mean?

I'd just keep my eyes on him. That's all.

You sound like your mother.

EM: Do you love that girl?
DEAN: No! No.

It was just the physical pleasure.

Dean, stop it!

I'm sorry, Em, it's... I'm an artist.
That makes me greedy and selfish.

You're a beautiful woman.
I don't deserve you.

I'm a pathetic excuse for a husband.

I have to leave you.

-I can't live like this. I have to leave you.

-We have to get a divorce.
-Yeah, but I'll die.


No, you should. You should.
You should leave me.

You can't trust me.
You should find someone new.

But I'll die if you leave me.

Dean, what are you doing? Dean!

Get away!

DEAN: Please. Please.
Please, forgive me, Em.

Don't leave me. Please.

Beautiful Em, I can't let you leave me.
Stay with me.

I'll paint old men.

Fat, old, bald, warty men
with all their clothes on.

Please. I love you.



DEAN: I'll get it.

I do.

I need you.

It's killing me.

You shouldn't call me here.

I know. I know.

It's hard for me, too, baby.

EM: Oh, God!

Oh, my God, you son of a bitch!

I can't believe you're doing this!
Why do you keep doing this?

I can't control it.


EM: You bastard!



EM: And so I left him.

I went to stay at my parents' house...

which isn't saying much.

They only lived two streets away.

All the same, it took Dean three months
to find me.





What are you doing here?

And what makes you think
I should ever come back to you?


EM'S MOTHER: This one on top.

EM'S MOTHER: It's for the best, dear.


I've come to believe
that Dean is more typical than not.

It's a pattern of nature.

The female keeps the nest,

while the male goes out
and flaunts his feathers.

-Well, screw that.
-Heck yeah.

I've decided...

finally, to leave him.

-Please, don't tell anyone.
-Of course not.




HY: [INDISTINCTLY] Our naked lady.

EM: I beg your pardon?


HY: Our naked lady.



HY: Oh, turn it up. I like that song.


I don't mean to bother you.

I brought these for you.

Thank you.

No, I'm about to take a break.

Go ahead, sit down.

Did you grow these?

LEON: My family has a field.

I just picked these.
They're still warm from the sun.


LEON: Here.

ANNA: I don't know what I'm gonna do
about that yellow patch.

It throws the whole damn balance off.

Constance, what are you doing to me?

As I understood it, the theme
is supposed to be "Where Love Resides."

love resides in Chickie's garden.

You could have put some pink and
blue flowers in Chickie's garden.

Chickie's roses were yellow.

Constance, there are a lot of colors
we all like to use...

but we have to respectAnna's opinion.

Why are we being so strict?
It's a love quilt, for God's sake.

MARIANNA: It's for Finn, Mama.
It's not for competition.

I don't care if it's for the First Lady
or a whore in the street.

We will follow the rules of design.

Sometimes you have to break the rules
to keep the work alive.

Une couleur laide, ça n'existe pas.

ANNA: Don't give me that French crap.

I live with someone
who's been breaking the rules for 30 years.

EM: And I don't come here
to have it rubbed in my face.

I show up here...

and I sew.

You know, Constance...

Em has been a part of our group...

longer than you have,
and we're in a rather...

uncomfortable situation here.

That's fine.

I'll leave.

CONSTANCE: I really don't care.

I think the hardest part about being
a woman is having women friends.

I think the hardest part about being a woman is
not being able to just be friends with a man.

That's true.

CONSTANCE: If Howell wasn't buried here
I'd leave in a minute.

FINN: I meant to write you last year
when he died. I'm so sorry.

CONSTANCE: That's okay.
I hate those condolence notes.


You can do what you like with it.

CONSTANCE: I call it Chickie's Garden.

When we were moving around a lot...

Howell got me Chickie to keep me company
while he was on the road.

She was a wonderful dog,
and very smart and elegant.

Wasn't a yapper.

When Howell was home the three of us
would go out for walks...

and all the kids in the neighborhood
kept us company.

CONSTANCE: Chickie made us popular.

And then the damn dog ate some snail bait
in somebody's yard...

and Howell buried her
under a yellow rose bush in my garden.

Why isn't this going in my quilt?

Because I've been spending time
with somebody else's husband.

And it's absolute nonsense...

because Howell was the love of my life.


Now, sweetheart,
tell the folks the secret of our marriage.


The real secret of our marriage
is that I haven't seen you 'cause...

you've been on the
road since we got married.

-Tell the folks the secret of our marriage.
-That is the secret.

Turn it off.


CONSTANCE: Start again.
Do it again. Do it again.


DEAN: Hi. Em told me about Howell.

I'm really sorry.

Thank you.

DEAN: You all right? Anything I can do?

-You can take me dancing.

Look, I'm sorry.

Howell was a good man, and I loved him.

But he's gone now and I
don't believe in grief.

How can you not believe in grief?

DEAN: Either you grieve, or you don't.


-You want me to drive you home?
-No, thanks. I feel like walking.

Excuse me.



Hi. Just thought I'd drop by.
See if you needed anything done.

No, I don't think so, but come in.

The hair's still in his shaver.
I don't know what to do with it.

Do you want me to take it away for you?

-Yes, would you?

If you go in the bedroom,
there's some jackets and some ties.

They're laid out on the bed.

Please, take whatever you want.
I don't want to give it to the Goodwill.


Thank you.

DEAN: You're welcome.

CONSTANCE: With Howell gone,
I was thinking maybe I'd move back East.

I miss the seasons.


Sometimes I wake up in
the middle of the night...

and I wonder how exactly I got here.

Why don't you go?

Why don't you just go?

Why don't we both go?

Ain't dead yet.

It's getting late.

I'm kicking you out.

CONSTANCE: Good night, Dean.

DEAN: [MUTTERING] God damn it.


Hi. Forgot my tool box.

Dean, are you trying to
have an affair with me?

Well, I guess I am.

If Howell were alive,
I might be tempted.

What do you mean?

Because I'd have him to go home to
when I came to my senses.

I guess you just saved us both
a whole lot of trouble.

-You still want Howell's jacket?
-Yeah, sure.

-It's on the chair in there.

RADIO: It's 7:45 in the evening...

and as the sun goes down outside,
here's an old favorite.


It fits you.

[WHISPERING] Come on. It's all right.

DEAN: It's okay. It's all right.





just so you know...

I'm engaged to be married.

So, you just want a friendship thing?


You look very pretty, honey.
Is there a special occasion?

I thought I'd go into town, see a movie.

GLADY: Anna was gonna bring over her quilts
to show you.

She'll be here in about 20 minutes.

-She doesn't take them out for everybody.
-That's right.

I had to twist
her arm to bring them out.


I'll get it.


Yes, Sam, she's right here.
Just a minute.

FINN: Thanks.

FINN: Hello.


Yeah, I tried to call you again.

Where were you?

It was nothing.

He ended up spending the night
at his brother's...

because he had taken
all the plumbing apart.

You see, I told you it wasn't anything.


Who was the girl?

Wrong number.

He said I dialed a wrong number.


I'll get that.


LEON: You look very pretty.
FINN: Thank you.

Look, I'm gonna have to meet you
somewhere later.


ANNA: I don't take these quilts out
for everybody, as you know.

ANNA: I just don't do it.
FINN: I know.

Are you looking a little different tonight?

ANNA: My Aunt Pauline
passed this quilt down to me.

It was made by my great-great-grandmother.
She called it "The Life Before."

ANNA: It's a story quilt.
It's meant to be read.

ANNA: When I was a little girl...

my Aunt Pauline would tell me
the story from the quilt.

How my great-grandparents met.

My great-grandmother was just a young
woman when slavery was ending.

And when she was finally free,
she set out to look for her parents...

who had been sold off years before.


One day...

after many months of travel,
she saw a crow...

sitting on a fence.

Something told her:
"Follow that crow."

The crow led her to a young man
working his acres...

and my great-grandmother,
she knew in her heart...

that she was supposed
to stop right there.

It seems that the search for her parents
had led her to the man...

God had intended for her to marry.

Every night; I'd listen to my Aunt Pauline
tell that story.

And I'd think to myself:

"Okay, I'm gonna keep my eyes out
for that crow."

"One day, he'll lead me
to my own true love."

During the Depression, we had no money...

to pay for shoes or schoolbooks,
so my Aunt Pauline sold off the quilt...

to the woman she worked for.

The woman paid Aunt Pauline $12,
and hung our quilt on her wall.

GUEST: Where did you get
this marvelous piece?

LADY: Pauline sold it to me 10 years ago.

LADY: I got it for a steal.

ANNA: I felt like whatever I knew
of the life before was now gone.

LADY: Anna, would you
serve the next course?

MAN 1: Don't let that son of mine
just laze around here all summer.

I expect him to do some honest work.

MAN 2: Don't worry.
We'll have him cleaning out the stables.

Come on now.

LADY: We'll think of
something for him to do.


BECK: Hello, Anna.

It's okay, we can talk as equals.

I don't believe
in that servant-master sort of thing.

You think I thought you were my master?

No, I...

ANNA: Maybe I just didn't answer you
because I wanted to be left alone.


Excuse me?

It's a French expression.


So, what are you looking at?

Pegasus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia...


the Herdsman with the star Arcturus
in his knee, and...


BECK: You cold?

I'm okay.

I once took my coat off,
and put it around this girl...

and she told me she could feel
the heat from my body...

still in the lining.

You feel it?

Yeah, it's there.


You ever been with a boy before?

[WHISPERING] This okay?


You scared?

Of what?


This is your quilt now, Anna.

And you must tell the
stories to your child.

ANNA: Won't you get in trouble?
AUNT: I'll pay her back the money.

ANNA: It was arranged for me to stay
with the Rubens family...

where I would do housework and mending
while I waited for the birth of my baby.

And it was there that I first met
your Grandma Hy, and your Aunt Glady Joe.

MRS. RUBENS: Hy, Glady Joe...

the church has sent
us over another girl.

She will be staying with
us until it's her time.

MRS. RUBENS: And, as usual,
I expect both of you

to treat her with kindness and tolerance.

Now, Anna is a Negro
so we must be especially nice to her.

Hyacinth, would you
put down the magazine, please?

Quit it.

Glady Joe, why don't
you showAnna her room?




GLADY: Anna, it's Glady Joe.
Are you in there?

I was wondering if you'd ever read this.
It's called Wuthering Heights.

Would you like to borrow it?
It's the best book I've ever read.

Oh, my gosh!

GLADY: This is very artistic.

-How long have you been doing this?
-All my family's women quilt.

Gee, I'd love to learn how to do that.

Hy plays the piano, but I haven't, as yet,
found an outlet for my artistic expression.

I've been reading about injustice
and slavery in America...

and it just makes me want to cry.

GLADY: Everyone says how great
Thomas Jefferson was...

but he owned slaves
just like the rest of them.

I brought this up with my teacher
and she says to me:

"Well, Glady Joe,
everybody owned slaves back then."

"It was considered normal."

Can you believe that? What a dimwit!

I swear this world is filled with ignorami.

Look, I gotta finish this
quilt for my baby, and...

I'm kind of in a hurry.

Oh, all right.

I'll leave this book for you.

Tell me how you like it.




You're sewing crooked.
Do it again.



GLADY: Mother!


MRS. RUBENS: You look much better, dear.

I made this for the baby.

Now, Anna...

some ladies from the church
will be coming to see you today.

I'm not giving them my baby.

I'm raising Marianna myself.

But, Anna, don't you want
what's best for the child...

ANNA: Yes, ma'am.

That's why I'm keeping her.

ANNA: As Marianna grew,
I told her the story from the quilt.

And I came to realize,
I had become part of that story, too.

It wasn't the love of a husband...

I was meant to find,
but the love of my daughter.

Oh, God, look at that!

ANNA: I never liked full moons.

They give people an
excuse to do foolish things.

I'm young.
I'm supposed to do foolish things.

And spend the rest of
your life paying for them?

It's better than spending the rest
of my life wondering what I missed.

I'd rather wonder than kick myself.

I'd rather kick myself.


You will end up with a
deeply-sore backside.




MARIANNA: This is Eric
who made perfumes in Provence.

Michel, the Frenchman.

Fisherman from Marseille.

Paco. Paco raised bulls in Spain.

Luciano, who did marvelous things
with olive oil.


I was a wild thing.

All these men trying to tie me down.

"Marry me," in five different languages.

I refuse to be tied down to anyone.

Good. Good for you.

You think so?

FINN: Are you kidding?
To have that kind of courage?

Especially someone from your generation.

FINN: Yeah, what they don't tell us...

is that marriage is an
anachronistic institution

created for the sole
convenience of the father...

who needs to pass off his daughters
over to the care of another man, like:

"Here, here, she eats too much.
Take her off my hands."

But now that we've gotten
our independence...

that we earn our own livings,
there's no purpose in being someone's wife.

Why can't we love
as many people as we want in a lifetime?

Monogamy is really a very unnatural state
that's been forced on us for centuries...

by screwed-up religious leaders...

who are completely out of touch
with their own sexuality.

You know what I mean?

Have you been talking to your fiancé
about any of this?

All right, let me ask you this:

If you had to choose
between marrying a lover or marrying...

a friend... who would you chose?


I would marry my soul mate.

Who is it?

He's the only man I don't
have a picture of.

MARIANNA: I don't even know his name.

WINSTON: Mademoiselle?

MARIANNA: I was in Paris.


MARIANNA: I had just turned 30
and my latest love affair was over.

The stranger sat down at my table
and ordered me some cake...

while I cried into his handkerchief.

Before long I told him
about my broken heart...

then he told me about his poetry
and his thoughts on love.


MARIANNA: The afternoon became night.

I knew he had somewhere else to go,
but I found myself...

asking him to have dinner with me.

Then have dinner with me.

Look, I already have a dinner to go to,
with my wife.

This is what I wrote today.

MARIANNA: As he left,
he gave me one of his poems.


MARIANNA: Read it.

FINN: "Young lovers seek perfection."

"Old lovers learn the art
of sewing shreds together."

"And of seeing beauty
in a multiplicity of patches."


You better get home.

I think the weather's changing.




FINN: I thought that was you.


SALLY: Your father and
I are getting remarried.


Your father and I are getting remarried.

Since when?


We ran into each other,
a couple months ago...

and thought we'd have dinner.
You know, catch up.

It just turned into one of those...

wild things...

and we closed the restaurant.

And then...

we took a long walk and pretty soon
we were making out in the moonlight.

Look, I got goosebumps.

-Does Grandma know?

What does she think?

She's fine about it.

Was Dad planning
on letting me know about this?

No. He wanted me to tell you first.
And we want you to come to the wedding.


That's an odd response.

Well, Mom, give me a minute here.

You can't expect me to make an instant
switch after telling me my whole life...

what an asshole my dad is.

Honey, he was. And so was I.

But we've forgiven each other.

It would've been nice if you had done
this forgiving thing 20 years ago.

SALLY: We couldn't. We
had to grow up a lot.

In the meantime, I get to grow up with you
telling me that marriage is bullshit.

-I never said that.
-Yes, you did.

-You did say that, Mom.

-You did, Mom.
-No, I didn't.

FINN: We were sitting in your kitchen
a couple months ago...

and you were pouring me that awful...
that Bachnia...


Banachia tea and you said,
I remember your exact words...

You said that lifetime commitments
were impossible to keep...

and that serial monogamy
was the only way to go.

-Why would I say such a bizarre thing?
-You say things like that all the time.

Well, I've changed my mind.

Do you have any idea
how crazy you've made me?

-Then you shouldn't listen to me.
-It's too late.

The imprint's been made. I'm a mess.

Finn, give it a break.
You're not a mess.

And for a 26-year-old...

I was a mess.

At least you know what you want.

No, I don't.

Yes, you do. You're just scared.

Maybe I've been a flake...

and you want to tie me up
and do a slide show of my crimes.

Fine. But then move on and live your life.



Do you like Sam?


I do. I like him a lot.

So, why don't you ever tell me?

'Cause it shouldn't matter what I think.

I've been fooling around on him.

-Don't be stupid, Finn.
-I know. I know.

Don't ever tell him.




What in the world?

Shut the door, Mom!



HY: Finny, here, I found these inside.
I'll help you out here, honey.

I'm never gonna find them all.

I didn't even make a copy.

That's a year and a half of my life, gone.

I hope you're not saying
that you're giving up?

Grandma, my notes are everywhere.

I'd have to go back and rewrite it,
reconstruct the whole thing.

I just can't do that.

You think it's easier to start all
over again with something else?

I don't know... Yes?

How nice to be so unattached to something.






-Just stay in your truck, Leon.

Because if you don't,
then I'm gonna have to kiss you.

FINN: That summer the Grasse Quilting Bee
did something they'd never done before.

Anna called everyone back
and wouldn't let them go home...

until they finished the quilt.

They all worked 73 straight hours

sustained by Anna's
will and gallons of iced tea.



GLADY: Mother!

That's good work.

Quit it.

Thank you.

You know, you're not
as attractive as I thought you were.

Well, thank you.

Did you get the pages
that I found in my yard?

-I gave them to your grandma.
-Yeah. Thank you.

They were wrinkled so I ironed them out.

I singed one of the pages.

I think you're only missing a word or two.

Okay. That's fine.

SOPHIA: It's really good,
what I read so far.

SOPHIA: I'd like to read the whole thing
when you're done.

You're a good writer.

Thank you.

I was a diver.

I know.









SAM: I'm sorry. I'm early.
I was gonna wait until everybody got...


FINN: I'll tell you what makes me happy
about marrying Sam.

I know our marriage has
as good a chance of being wonderful...

as it does of missing the mark.

However; I'm banking on
our love for each other

to weigh a bit heavier
on the wonderful side.

As Anna says about making a quilt: "You
must choose your combination carefully."

"The right choices will enhance your quilt,
the wrong choices will dull the colors..."

"Hide their original beauty."

"There are no rules you can follow."

"You have to go by instinct,
and you have to be brave."