User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 116 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 116
  2. Negative: 31 out of 116

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User Reviews

  1. KelleyE.
    Oct 12, 2006
    5
    It was just like the radio show itself... self important and smug.
  2. StephenS.
    Oct 12, 2006
    5
    I never thought I
  3. JimG.
    Jun 12, 2006
    6
    How do you preserve the essence of a live radio show? I'm not asking how you capture a performance on film, but how you capture the cumulative essence of thirty years of performances--the weekly ins and outs? Just as our memories someday will do, Altman separates Prairie's wheat from its chaff, alternating between on-air performances and backstage fellowship. He gives us much How do you preserve the essence of a live radio show? I'm not asking how you capture a performance on film, but how you capture the cumulative essence of thirty years of performances--the weekly ins and outs? Just as our memories someday will do, Altman separates Prairie's wheat from its chaff, alternating between on-air performances and backstage fellowship. He gives us much recognizable (longstanding bits, GK's sighs and harmonies, wonderful musical performances, and sound effects) but, cleverly, distracts us---our memory will be full but incomplete. The news from Lake Wobegon isn't missing, it's simply delivered by GK through his backstage screenplay rather than "on air." Fans of Keillor present and future will have this cinematic memory to savor. The only fault I could find is that, though Streep and Tomlin are perfectly placed and enjoyable, I wish Sue Scott was featured in her usual multiple "on air" roles rather relegated to a single backstage role. (And, only because Keillor's inspiration for PHC was the Grand Ole Opry, I am left wondering what we would enjoy now if only Altman had sought out to preserve the Grand Ole Opry on film in this manner when the scinons of the 30's, 40's and 50's were alive and still performing.) Expand
  4. TheConundrum
    Jul 21, 2006
    5
    It's a simple choice: If you like the eponymous radio show, or adore anything by Robert Altman, then you will probably mildly enjoy watching this movie. If you've never heard of A Prairie Home Companion, or think Altman movies are movies are pointless, then you will be bored witless. I am a fan of the radio show, so I found the movie a pleasant diversion, but even I was looking It's a simple choice: If you like the eponymous radio show, or adore anything by Robert Altman, then you will probably mildly enjoy watching this movie. If you've never heard of A Prairie Home Companion, or think Altman movies are movies are pointless, then you will be bored witless. I am a fan of the radio show, so I found the movie a pleasant diversion, but even I was looking at my watch at points. At least Lindsay Lohan is a fox, that helped. Collapse
  5. OliverC.
    Jul 20, 2006
    4
    You'd think with an all star cast the movie would be something. This movie is neither bad nor good. It isn't exciting or boring. Its neutral, like watching mediocre television it puts you in a trance and once it's over nothings changed. Yes the people are moving and talking and things are happening but somehow there is no depth whatsoever. This movie could use a little You'd think with an all star cast the movie would be something. This movie is neither bad nor good. It isn't exciting or boring. Its neutral, like watching mediocre television it puts you in a trance and once it's over nothings changed. Yes the people are moving and talking and things are happening but somehow there is no depth whatsoever. This movie could use a little something i like to call a plot, better music (its sort of like a mighty wind, but everything sounds formulaic) as so much of it was musical, character development perhaps? better writing perhaps? Every joke is played out a bit too long and becomes unfunny. The movie is one song, then one joke, then another song, for two hours, and besides scene with an angel and the penguins and the "bad joke" scene its almost void of thought. A movie for the critics. Let them bathe in this accomplishment of mediocrity! Expand
  6. TRacyR.
    Jul 7, 2006
    6
    Well ... it's a mood piece and it is sucessful at maintaining a complicated mixture of wry and cornpone longger then you'd think one could get away with it, but that's about it. Nothing else going on except as a reviewer put it "Hollywood Karaoke". Keillor is a writer and he gets in some delightful plays on language and the stars use their considerable charm to engaging Well ... it's a mood piece and it is sucessful at maintaining a complicated mixture of wry and cornpone longger then you'd think one could get away with it, but that's about it. Nothing else going on except as a reviewer put it "Hollywood Karaoke". Keillor is a writer and he gets in some delightful plays on language and the stars use their considerable charm to engaging effect. But the point of the radio show is not celebrity-gazing and the camera's relentless focus on Streep (who is fine and this isn't her fault) is almost distracting. I also sincerely resented the cutaway from the Jerilyn Steel song. Why do I have to watch every quivering moment of Linday Lohan, but can't listen or watch one lousy song from the best singer in the move? Because she isn't a name? Shame on Altman for that. Altogether - not an insignificant accomplishment, but a little diisappointing and should have been better. Expand
  7. SeanR
    Jul 8, 2006
    5
    Someone please tell me what the point of this movie was. Though it had it's somewhat funny moments the plot just roamed around looking for a place to end while Gary butchered songs. I may be a younger viewer and not as in touch with the old-tyme of yesteryear but why was this movie made if not only to get a few more one-time listeners to the non-ficticious NPR show.
  8. LindaL.
    Jul 15, 2006
    4
    When is a radio program actually more entertaining than the film or TV version? When it's Ernie Harwell broadcasting a Tigers baseball game, or when it's the normal Prairie Home Companion show compared with this movie. There's no real plot to the film, and where are the edgy personal politics that Altman usually brings out in his movies? I did thoroughly enjoy Meryl When is a radio program actually more entertaining than the film or TV version? When it's Ernie Harwell broadcasting a Tigers baseball game, or when it's the normal Prairie Home Companion show compared with this movie. There's no real plot to the film, and where are the edgy personal politics that Altman usually brings out in his movies? I did thoroughly enjoy Meryl Streep's Midwestern accent. (But her singing was way better in "Postcards from the Edge".) This seemed like a Garrison Keillor vanity project. Expand
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. 88
    Take a swig of this moonshine. There's magic in it.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Rib-ticklingly funny at times and genial as all get-out.