Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    What a lovely film this is, so gentle and whimsical, so simple and profound.
  2. 100
    A down-home-exquisite musical dramedy.
  3. Not since Woody Allen's "Radio Days" has anyone created such a cinematic Valentine to the wonderfully imaginative medium of radio as A Prairie Home Companion.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Rib-ticklingly funny at times and genial as all get-out.
  5. Sometimes you forget how great an actor is, then he or she is reborn in an Altman movie.
  6. 90
    Keillor's modest subservience to Altman's group dynamic feels downright gallant, and in the context of the veteran director's most humanistic movie by a wide margin, it certainly has its rewards.
  7. It's not a perfect movie, and it does not aspire to be a great one. It's just wonderful.
  8. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    90
    Both magical and consistently joyous. The director, Robert Altman, and the writer, Garrison Keillor, have, against all odds, transmuted the fatigued public radio institution into a lovely fable about mortality, fleeting fame, fondness for the past and the ineffable beauty of life in the present.
  9. 90
    The songs in the film are a blast and John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson share one of the funniest singing moments onscreen ever.
  10. At the age of 81, Altman may show signs of mellowing, but he again emerges as a master filmmaker.
  11. 88
    Take a swig of this moonshine. There's magic in it.
  12. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    88
    As for this film's esteemed director, I don't remember getting such sheer pleasure out of an Altman movie since . . . hmm, lemme look at the filmo . . . hmm—"The Player"? Not so much . . . "O.C. and Stiggs"? I wish . . . Um, "Popeye"? More likely, but . . . Ah-"A Wedding." Yeah, that’s it, "A Wedding." Whoa. That was, like, almost 30 years ago.
  13. A meditation on death that has you humming to the melody and laughing at the joke -- it's an elegiac picture that refuses to eulogize.
  14. 83
    Altman and Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion is fittingly both a celebration and a winning example of the joys of collaboration.
  15. What sustains the film is the performers' belief in their shaggy-dog selves, which is more than just talent - it's faith.
  16. Streep and Tomlin are so attuned to each other that it's as if they had worked together all of their lives. In fact, it's their first time. Streep has become a wonderfully soulful comedian; Tomlin always was one.
  17. 80
    For a film about death and endings, A Prairie Home Companion is a cracking good time - a warm, golden bauble within which to shelter, like the radio show that inspired it, from the misery and ennui that engulf us in and out of the multiplex.
  18. Reviewed by: Michael Agger
    80
    With a theatrical setting, a large ensemble cast, and musical numbers, Altman and his crew are in their own tailored version of heaven.
  19. People unfamiliar with either man may think Altman is mocking Keillor and his 32-year-old radio program here. But, it is pure affection, and the movie is as much up-tempo, irresistible fun to watch as the show is to hear.
  20. Like his recent, elegant dance film "The Company," A Prairie Home Companion will appeal especially to those who are not story-dependent. Altman's sidewinding tribute to a surprisingly hardy 32-year-old public radio phenomenon is like a 105-minute putter in the garden, with a few songs and some jokes.
  21. 75
    Kline's combination of pratfalls and urbanity is funny, but it rubs against the rest of the movie's effortless rustic charm. He's like Errol Flynn on a hayride.
  22. 75
    It's a breezy, homespun, relaxing thing...watching this laid-back picture feels, oddly enough, like a vacation from movies.
  23. 75
    As it stands, it entertains quite a bit, frustrates too much, and leaves you feeling slightly undernourished, like a meal of tasty but not filling hors d'oeuvres.
  24. 70
    A Prairie Home Companion has many lovely and funny moments, but there's not a lot going on. Dramatically, it's mellow to the point of inertia. There may not be any sweat, but there isn't any heat, either.
  25. 70
    Good-humored and enormously entertaining but also sentimental and a little dishonest.
  26. 70
    It's by no means the greatest Altman, and not even a great Altman. And yet, even though it was written and conceived by Garrison Keillor -- as a fanciful fiction that draws on elements of his popular radio show -- it is somehow pure Altman.
  27. 63
    This combination of storytelling, singing, and corny comedy is sometimes a little too slow and long-winded for its own good, but at least the aftertaste isn't bitter.
  28. Overall, the film falls into some comforting cocoon midway between affectionate spoof and adoring homage, much like Keillor's warmly nostalgic show.
  29. It's a pleasant but insubstantial excuse for a film.
  30. I'm not sure that the endearing charms of the assorted fogeys and whelps add up to a movie. But I always enjoy how Altman weaves the warp of professional life with the weft of the personal.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 116 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 55
  2. Negative: 20 out of 55
  1. KelleyE.
    Oct 12, 2006
    5
    It was just like the radio show itself... self important and smug.
  2. JamesC.
    Jun 11, 2006
    3
    Dull and pointless. What a waste of talent. Yes, Meryl can be bad in a movie, Lohan terrible but that is to be expected and without Lily this Dull and pointless. What a waste of talent. Yes, Meryl can be bad in a movie, Lohan terrible but that is to be expected and without Lily this film would get a big fat 0. Woody and JonC are passable. I can't believe that none of these people saw that it was a script to nowhere and mentioned this fact to Altman. I was sitting behind a guy who was tapping his shoes onto the sticky floor throught the whole movie. It was more entertaining listening to him tapping to the beat than watching this film. A HUGE shame. Full Review »
  3. JonJ.
    Sep 19, 2007
    10
    Just what you would expect from a Keillor-Altman collaboration. Given the distinctiveness of their respective styles, you'd expect wide Just what you would expect from a Keillor-Altman collaboration. Given the distinctiveness of their respective styles, you'd expect wide ranging reviews. If you like both, you'll like the movie. If you don't like one or the other, the movie may very well drive you crazy. Full Review »