Easter weekend in the small town of Holly Springs and Camille Dixon (Glenn Close) is busying herself with putting on a production at the church, which means bossing about her shy younger sister, Cora (Julianne Moore). It is that weekend which sees Cora's independent minded daughter, Emma (Liv Tyler - Armageddon), return to town, something which makes, new cop, Jason Brown (Chris O'Donnell) happy as they use to have a thing back in their school days. It also makes laid back Willis Richland (Charles S. Dutton - Random Hearts) happy as he is the live in help for her Aunt Jewel Mae "Cookie" Orcutt (Patricia Neal - Heidi) and is concerned by some of Cookie's more recent behaviour. But things take a turn for the bad when Cookie commits suicide; Camille discovers the body and destroys the note as no one in their family commits suicide. It leads to crime scene investigator Eddie Pitts (Matt Malloy) suspecting Willis of murder, something that Sheriff Lester Boyle (Ned Beatty) doesn't believe as he goes fishing with Willis. But it also leads to secrets being revealed...
That synopsis tells you everything you need to know about "Cookie's Fortune"; we have a quirky story of suicide, secrets and cover up, we have a whole array of quirky characters and an ensemble of talented actors to play them. But for me it makes it one of those movies which you really need to be in the mood to watch or else "Cookie's Fortune" can come across like one of those movies with a big cast with every one doing their own thing, delivering their parts and their lines but not really coming together.
But I can appreciate why, even though "Cookie's Fortune" didn't blow me away, that many would enjoy it because between Camille bossing her sister, the covering up of the Aunt's suicide and then the secrets which come out during the investigation, as well as the outcome, it is generally amusing. And the whole host of stars who director Robert Altman has put together are certainly a talented bunch who manage to bring out their character's individual quirks from Willis being laid back to Camille being a bossy busy body.
What this all boils down to is that "Cookie's Fortune" probably will entertain those who are fans of Robert Altman movies as is has plenty of stars playing an entertaining collection of characters. But if you are not in the mood for comical collections of characters all with their quirks then it ends up not always keeping your attention.