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Cookie's Fortune

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DVD 1-Disc Version
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Editorial Reviews


Dedicated fans of Robert Altman will want to check out this drowsy Southern comedy, which is shot through with the director's feel for location and his musical sense of storytelling. Non-Altman fanatics might want to tread more carefully. Cookie's Fortune begins beautifully, as handyman Willis (Charles S. Dutton) staggers home from a blues club in the small town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. In the wee hours of a warm night, he has an affectionate chat with elderly matriarch Jewel Mae "Cookie" Orcutt (the grand Patricia Neal) and the gentle history of their friendship is sketched in a few brief exchanges. Soon enough, Cookie has checked out of this world to join her dear departed husband, prompting her nieces to make the suicide look like a murder---to protect the dubious family name, of course. They are the local drama diva (Glenn Close), a Scarlett O'Hara in her own mind, and her dreamy sister (Julianne Moore), who ain't quite right in the head. Will Willis be blamed for the murder? Will the inheritance go to the nieces? Will Liv Tyler and Chris O'Donnell find a place to express their lust? None of these questions is especially burning, and Altman doesn't seem terribly anxious about the answers. Instead, he aims for a particular kind of laid-back quirky southern comedy, unevenly filtered through his screen of sour irony. Like a jazzman blowing improv, some of this works and some of it doesn't. Speaking of music, the film boasts a nifty R&B soundscape devised by former Eurythmics man David Stewart, with a boost from blues belter Ruby Wilson. --Robert Horton

Product Details

  • Actors: Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler, Chris O'Donnell, Charles S. Dutton
  • Directors: Robert Altman
  • Writers: Anne Rapp
  • Producers: Robert Altman, David Levy, Ernst Etchie Stroh, James McLindon, Willi Bär
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Polygram/Usa Home Entertaiment
  • DVD Release Date: May 1, 2001
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JRWE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,162 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cookie's Fortune" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel E. Collinelli Jr. on December 17, 2003
Format: DVD
This just has to be said:
Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune may very well one of the greatest films ever made. I kid you not! Well. At least one of the finest films of the past decade.
When you watch this film you are viewing the work of a director that is so sure of himself and his abilities and the story that he just sort of let's it happen. It's truly amazing when it hits you. This film plays effortlessly. Like a Mozart composition.
Unpretentious. Deliberate and confident. No single performance stands out or hogs the spotlight. And Altman's cast is top-notch from critic darlings like Glenn Close to fantastic character actors like THE ROCK!
You might not catch it the first time you see it. But. Watch it a few times. Then it'll hit ya!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Gawlitta on July 4, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you don't like Robert Altman, read no further... Why do you think Altman has the respect that he has? No one today can handle an ensemble cast of pros and make each one look like a star. Who else could've gotten old-pro Patricia Neal out of retirement? If you don't like Altman, you're obviously missing something that the rest of us already know...he's smart! It's no secret that Mr. Altman hates pretense. "MASH", "The Player", "Gosford Park", "Nashville" and on & on...the man has fun poking fun at phonies. "Cookie's Fortune" is no different. Almost exclusively working with original screenplays, he can play his game and say his piece. Anne Rapp's screenplay must've put him in director heaven. Glenn Close is pretty much the centerpiece here, a woman sure of her position and unwilling to bend. She's marvelous and totally unlikeable. The great Ms. Neal is on screen, alas, too short a time. Like an older version of her Oscar-winning role in "Hud", she's tougher than nails, and wonderful. Julianne Moore ditches the glamour, appearing mostly without make-up, belying her well-known beauty. Charles S. Dutton is customarily confident and endearing, as are Liv Tyler & Chris O'Donnell (though a previous reviewer didn't think so). Altman likes using Lyle Lovett, and he's reliable here in a small role. Ned Beatty and, especially, the great Courtney B. Vance fill out the big name cast effectively. Like all Altman films, one must pay attention to the script, because, though leisurely paced, the dialogue flies by. To reiterate the plot would be senseless, but one of my favorite lines was, in reference to the crime scene, they said Close's character has "negative blood"; when Beatty is asked why he's so sure Dutton didn't do it, he, matter-of-factly says "I fish with him!". (This is almost a running gag...Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 21, 2008
Format: DVD
Says lawyer Jack Palmer to Emma Duval, explaining the fate of her long gone father, a man she was told years ago had died while doing missionary work in Africa after he'd left his family. "He died alright, about four years later, somewhere down in Alabama in a button factory accident. Seems the hole poker machine broke loose and fell on him. They say he had 273 holes in him before they could get it off."

After all that Emma and her friend Willis Richland have experienced in Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune, it seems perfectly natural when Emma cries out in exasperation, "Willis, what is wrong with all these people?"

The important point is that they all are part of a movie of great ease and geniality. Cookie's Fortune may be a little sentimental, perhaps, but it is so sweet-natured and natural, and so skillfully presented, that I think the film ranks among Altman's most accomplished works...even if what powers it is an old lady blowing her brains out.

Jewel Mae Orcutt -- Cookie (Patricia Neal) - is aging and increasingly infirm, and she longs for her deceased husband, Buck. When she decides to use one of Buck's pistols to join him, she sets off the avarice of her niece, Camille Dixon (Glenn Close), who pulls along her slow-witted sister, Cora Duval (Julianne Moore). Camille is determined that no hint of a suicide will scandalize the family name, so she makes things look like a burglary gone bad. And, unintentionally, makes it look as if Willis Richland (Charles S. Dutton), a close friend of Cookie's who had worked around the house for her, must have done the deed. Well, there's no way Emma Duval (Liv Tyler) an unconventional young woman who is seriously estranged from her mother, Cora, and her aunt, is going to buy that.
Read more ›
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Swaim-Parker on April 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Cookie's Fortune - is definitely not a movie for everyone. But I loved it. This is NOT a fast-paced, noisey movie with tons of special effects. If you're looking for ACTION ... look elsewhere.
What this movie is ... a quietly quirky movie that captured my attention from the beginning. The movie focuses on the rather odd relationships of the characters (most were relatives) in a small "Nothing Ever Happened Here" town in the South. The soundtrack is awesome and fits the look of the movie perfectly.
The movie did leave me wanting to know more about the history & stories behind the characters. I was hoping the movie was based on a book, where I could learn more about each of the main characters, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
You would probably like "Cookie's Fortune" if you liked: "Fried Green Tomatoes" , "The Spitfire Grill", or even "Steele Magnolias". I suspect it falls under the category of a Chic-Flick.
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