An ageing small-town Mississippi widow is the owner of a sprawling mansion from where she plays matriach to an eccentric line-up of female relations.

Lacking the sardonic edge of much of Altman\'s work, this slyly creates a picturesque slightly gothic environment.

Cookie - Patricia Neal - decides that life is really too much for her without her beloved husband. And despite the support and friendship she gets from odd-job man Willis - Charles S. Dutton - and from grandneice Emma - Liv Tyler, Cookie decides on a self-inflicted exit. Her nieces - Camille - Glenn Close - and Cora - Julianne Moore discover the body, Camille`s horrified because no-one in their family commits suicide, it`s undignified; so she eats the suicide note and fakes a murder scene. As a result Willis is arrested for murder...This southern souffle of a movie is the work of veteran filmmaker Robert Altman and first time screenwriter Anne Rapp... lacking the sardonic edge of much of Altman`s work, Cookie`s Fortune nevertheless slyly creates a picturesque slightly gothic environment in which the town sheriff Ned Beatty is convinced of Willis` innocence because he`s an old fishing mate and Emma shows her contempt for the whole proceedings by moving into Willis`s cell with him. Glenn Close is delightfully manic as Camille, Moore elusively henpecked as Cora with Liv Tyler, Chris O`Donnell, Lyle Lovett and Donald Moffatt adding solidity to this diverse cast, Charles S. Dutton is so centred as Willis, the heart of the film. I really enjoyed yet another excursion into Robert Altman territory.