Cookie's Fortune

"Excellent"

Cookie's Fortune Review


"Cookie's Fortune," an ode to the charms and afflictions of smalltown Southern life from superlative director Robert Altman, opens, appropriatelyenough, with a leisurely, cinematic stroll around Holly Springs, Miss.,introducing the players in what will become a sympathetic satire of DixieGothic manners and mores.

We see sheriff's deputies with nothing to do but drivearound shining their spotlights here and there and talking unceasinglyabout fishing. We meet purse-lipped old maid Camille Dixon (Glenn Close)as she tenaciously directs a rehearsal of Oscar Wilde's "Salome,"which she has rewritten as a church morality play. We meet her slow-witted,obedient sister Cora Duvall (Julianne Moore) who is frustrating Camillewith her strenuous over-acting as the play's wanton lead.

We meet lonely commercial fisherman Manny (Lyle Lovett,as oddly understated as ever) as he pays a peeping tom visit to the vanwhere Cora's pretty, rebellious daughter Emma (Liv Tyler) has been livingsince her unceremonious return to Holly Springs after a failed Biloxi romance.

And we follow genial Willis Richland (Charles S. Dutton)as he stumbles home from a night at a ramshackle blues bar located in atin shanty on the outskirts of town, only to awaken Jewel Mae "Cookie"Orcutt (Patricia Neal), Camille's and Cora's eccentric aunt who sharesher weathered ante-bellum home with him.

A vital, sassy, pipe-smoking widow with an acerbic witthat she uses to barb Willis in a decades-long game of friendly one-upsmanship,Cookie, as you might have guessed from the title, is the movie's linchpin.It is her blissful suicide, calculated to reunite her with her long-deadhusband, which sets in motion a clumsy cover-up by an ashamed Camille thatwill eventually sends all the family's skeletons cascading out of the closet.

When inheritance-minded Camille finds Cookie's body, sheliterally eats her suicide note, then concocts a murder scene that unintentionallylands devoted Willis in jail.

A simple and subtle, yet outrageous and intricate, comedywith the kind of inconsequential embellishments that make all Altman'sbest films ring so true, "Cookie's Fortune" ranks right up therewith "Nashville," "M*A*S*H" and "The Player."

Peppering his picture with his trademark unhurried camerazooms, crafty symbolism and almost subconscious strokes of character, backstory, community and locale, the director makes even insignificant subplotscaptivating.

But his focus is never scattered as he alternates betweenCamille's estate-squatting at Cookie's empty mansion, Willis' stay in theslammer (which is so casual the sheriff doesn't even lock the cell) andthe somewhat inept murder investigation.

As always, Altman also culls extraordinary performancesfrom his large stable of talented players, that includes Courtney B. Vance,Chris O'Donnell and Ned Beatty, among others. But special notice goes toClose as the ridiculously austere Camille, Tyler and Dutton as Cookie'sstaunch compatriots (and the only two people in Holly Springs playing withfull deck of cards) and above all, to Neal, who instills Cookie with marvelous,irascible charm.

Although it has one unavoidable logical flaw -- the factthat a simple gunpowder test would solve the central "crime"in no time at all -- "Cookie's Fortune" is an undeniable Altmanclassic that places him back on track after a few films that missed theirmark.



Cookie's Fortune

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd April 1999

Distributed by: USA Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Moonstone Entertainment, Elysian Dreams, Kudzu

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 48 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Camille Dixon, as Cora Duvall, as Emma Duvall, as Jewel Mae 'Cookie' Orcutt, as Jason Brown, Charles S. Dutton as Willis Richland, as Lester Boyle, Courtney B. Vance as Otis Tucker, as Manny Hood, as Jack Palmer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.