Cookie's Fortune ★★★½ 1999 (PG-13)
Neal is Jewel Mae “Cookie” Orcutt, the matriarch of a Mississippi family with its share of female eccentrics. When Cookie offs herself to join her deceased husband, her officious, scandal-fearing spinster neice Camille (Close) destroys the suicide note, setting up the family's loyal, good-natured handyman (Dutton) for the fall. At the same time, she's directing practically the whole town in a church performance of “Salome.” Excellent script by Rapp allows more characterization than usual for Altman, as well as a pleasantly leisurely pace. Flawless ensemble work (another Altman hallmark) is highlighted by the performances of Neal, Close, and Dutton. 118m/C VHS, DVD . Charles S. Dutton, Glenn Close, Patricia Neal, Liv Tyler, Chris O'Donnell, Julianne Moore, Ned Beatty, Courtney B. Vance, Donald Moffat, Lyle Lovett, Matt Malloy, Rufus Thomas, Danny Darst, Randle Mell, Niecy Nash, Ruby Wilson, Preston Strobel; D: Robert Altman; W: Anne Rapp; C: Toyomichi Kurita; M: David A. Stewart. Natl. Bd. of Review '99: Support. Actress (Moore).