Cinema: Cookie's Fortune

Directed by Robert Altman

Easter weekend in the Mississippi town of Holly Springs. Old Cookie Orcutt (Patricia Neal) is fixin' to die--and does--while her niece Camille (Glenn Close) is staging a Salome pageant at the First Presbyterian Church. Complications, of the sort Altman has been perping for decades, ensue. And though Neal, Charles S. Dutton (as Neal's best friend) and Liv Tyler (as the town's wild child) have charm to burn, the film mostly simmers. Like Camille's theatricals, the Anne Rapp script dawdles through predictable Southern Gothic plot twists that a real writer like Beth Henley would use to showcase memorably bent characters. Rapp's idea...

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