123 user 96 critic

Cookie's Fortune (1999)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 16 April 1999 (USA)
1:34 | Trailer
Conflict arises in the small town of Holly Springs when an old woman's death causes a variety of reactions among family and friends.


Robert Altman


Anne Rapp
3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenn Close ... Camille Dixon
Julianne Moore ... Cora Duvall
Liv Tyler ... Emma Duvall
Chris O'Donnell ... Jason Brown
Charles S. Dutton ... Willis Richland
Patricia Neal ... Jewel Mae 'Cookie' Orcutt
Ned Beatty ... Lester Boyle
Courtney B. Vance ... Otis Tucker
Donald Moffat ... Jack Palmer
Lyle Lovett ... Manny Hood
Danny Darst Danny Darst ... Billy Cox
Matt Malloy ... Eddie 'The Expert' Pitts
Randle Mell Randle Mell ... Patrick Freeman
Niecy Nash ... Wanda Carter
Rufus Thomas ... Theo Johnson


Cookie's Fortune unfolds over an eventful Easter weekend in the small town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. The town residents are peaceful, kind folk -- with the exception of Camille Dixon -- a pushy theatre director with an incredibly shy younger sister, Cora, whose estranged daughter Emma has just returned to town. On the heels of her latest play, Camille is shocked to discover that her Aunt Jewel Mae "Cookie" Orcutt has committed suicide. Terrified at the thought of how this will tarnish the family name, she eats the suicide note to make it look like a burglary. This set-up leads the police to one main suspect, Willis Richland, who also happens to be Cookie's best friend. Although the rest of the town is convinced Willis didn't commit the crime, an outside investigator isn't so sure. As Easter Sunday and opening night of the play arrive, the truth comes out, revealing more secrets than anyone could have possibly imagined. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Welcome to Holly Springs... home of murder, mayhem and catfish enchiladas.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for the depiction of a violent act, and for sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The film's Southern setting is very close to writer Anne Rapp's heart -- she grew up in the Texas panhandle and also lived in Oxford, Mississippi. See more »


When Cora (Julianna Moore) is locked out of the house, she is shown sitting on the front porch with the front door open. See more »


Cora Duvall: Camille, Aunt Jewel shot herself.
Camille Dixon: We don't know that Aunt Jewel shot herself.
Cora Duvall: What do you mean?
Camille Dixon: All we know was that Aunt Jewel was shot, period.
Cora Duvall: But - but the gun was in her hand. She must have - must have -
Camille Dixon: Don't always go for the obvious, Cora. Just think!
Cora Duvall: What are you eating?
Camille Dixon: Nothin'. Now, you just listen to me, all right? Aunt Jewel did not commit suicide. Nobody in this family commits suicide. Suicide is a disgrace. Only crazy people commit suicide. So if that's what come - some robber, some ...
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Featured in The Directors: The Films of Robert Altman (2001) See more »

User Reviews

A script goes out of control
20 September 1999 | by JayASee all my reviews

My only prior exposure to Altman was READY TO WEAR - a film I did not survive. COOKIE'S FORTUNE started off only slightly better, with the story held together by whimsy for the first 20 minutes or so. Once Cookie blew her brains out in one of the most uniquely-filmed suicide shots I've ever seen, I was finally hooked.

Unfortunately, that didn't last. I come to films for good, soild story, and that's lacking in abundance here. As with READY TO WEAR, there are so many characters in this film that they crowd each other out - we never know enough to care what happens to any of them. The story lumbers foward until the villian's doomsday draws nigh, the just desserts are served as per the menu - and then everything *dies*, leaving about a half-dozen subplots and love stories crying for their mommy.

Glenn Close's Camille, unfortunately, takes center-stage in all her one-sided glory. We never see anything but her ugliness. A last-minute attempt is made to infuse some humanity into her, but it's cheap and has no follow-through. Close's acting is solid, but she puts more into this character than it can contain, and ultimately turns her into a caricacture. Julianne Moore is as good as she can be in the limited role of Cora, a mousy little thing with an arc that peaks too steeply, too quickly.

And then there's Liv Tyler. Whoever cast her as Emma should be shot. (And yes, that applies to Robert Altman.) She plays this "bad girl" role with the same whispery whininess she brings to INVENTING THE ABBOTS (where it worked) and ARMAGEDDON (where nothing worked). In the hands of Christina Ricci, or Drew Barrymore, or even Winona Ryder, this might have been a compelling character; in Tyler's hands, she's Pamela Abbott with a butch-dyke do and a bunch of unpaid parking tickets.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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Release Date:

16 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cookie's Fortune See more »

Filming Locations:

Holly Springs, Mississippi, USA See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$186,828, 4 April 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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