Conflict arises in the small town of Holly Springs when an old woman's death causes a variety of reactions among family and friends.
Watch an all star cast in a sleepy little town as they react to the shame of suicide.
The cast includes Shelly Winters, Charles S. Dutton, Liv Tyler, Glen Close, Julianne Moore, Ned Beatty, Chris O’Donnell and just to make you say WTF, Lyle Lovett. How could Robert Altman go wrong.
Cookie (Winters) is the town Matriarch and Willis (Dutton) lives on her property and takes care of her. Camille (Close) is one of Cookie’s nieces and is completely neurotic and runs her sis Cora’s (Moore) life.
Willis goes out to run some errands; one of those errands is to buy a replacement bottle of Wild Turkey to sneak back into the bar he took a bottle from the night before. As he makes his way through town Willis runs into Emma. Emma is Cora’s daughter and one of Cookie’s favorite people. Emma had taken off in the middle of the night some time back and Willis wants her to come by the house for Easter Dinner where he is going to make catfish enchiladas.
While he is out Cookie is overcome by the desire to be with her dead husband in heaven and goes upstairs and shoots herself in the head. Shortly thereafter Camille and Cora show up to borrow a fruit salad bowl for their own Easter Dinner. When Camille discovers the body she freaks out. To Camille suicide is a shame and no one in her family commits suicide. This leads her to eat the note and make the scene look like a robbery that ended in the death of Cookie.
By the time Willis returns home the Sherriff’s department is there and he is crushed to find out Cookie has died. Not only that she has died but also that it looks like someone murdered her. What follows is sheer genius. You see Willis is their only suspect and is taken to the jail where he sits playing scrabble with one his close friends, a deputy (Beatty) and his lawyer. The cell door is open the entire time.
Lester (Beatty) is convinced that Willis had nothing to do with the death of Cookie. When asked, “How do you know he didn’t do it?”
He responds, “Cause I fished with him.”
Throughout all of this Camille is directing the Easter Play which half the town is taking part. She and Cora keep insisting that Aunt Jewel (Cookie) did not commit suicide. Suicide is a shame. Camille is a domineering woman and Cora, well Cora almost seems dumb. She follows Camille’s lead in everything and seems quite content to let her sister run her life.
As the detective (Courtney B. Vance) from Batesville comes to sort this out and interviews everyone in town he gets more and more confused by the goings on of this sleepy little town. As more information comes in about a rare blood type found at the scene of the supposed murder it becomes clear that Willis did not kill Cookie, but no one knows that is was a suicide because someone ate the note and did such a good job of making it look like murder.
Will this come back to haunt Camille and who inherits the house and Cookie’s Fortune. There is only one way to find out. This truly is one of my favorite movies and I will stop what I am doing when I see it is on. It never loses its magic, no matter how many times I see this brilliant film. It is one of those rare films that anyone can enjoy and I give it The Movie Whore seal of approval.