Picturehouse Entertainment | Release Date: June 9, 2006
6.4
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 118 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
71
Mixed:
16
Negative:
31
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7
NickB.Jun 11, 2006
I guess all I could really say about APHC is that it is...well, pleasant. Lohan was the only ensemble member that I felt was mis-cast. She's too hollywood refined and lacks the necessary i'm-from-the-midwest-i-used-to-be-in-4H vibe I guess all I could really say about APHC is that it is...well, pleasant. Lohan was the only ensemble member that I felt was mis-cast. She's too hollywood refined and lacks the necessary i'm-from-the-midwest-i-used-to-be-in-4H vibe that almost everyone else had. Maya Rudolph was underused and very understated in what was a spot-on performance (then again, she is a stagehand, and they notoriously get pushed aside). Overall, it was simply pleasant. Not a whole lot more. Expand
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9
PeterL.Jun 11, 2006
Easy, relaxed, charming, humorous.....all of the adjectives that I use to describe the radio show I would use to describe the movie. YET I probably won't recommend the movie to my friends unless they are fans of A Prairie Home Companion Easy, relaxed, charming, humorous.....all of the adjectives that I use to describe the radio show I would use to describe the movie. YET I probably won't recommend the movie to my friends unless they are fans of A Prairie Home Companion (the radio show). Expand
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9
LindyA.Jun 10, 2006
So evocative for people of a certain age - and so sweet for those brought up on those songs.
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9
RussellL.Jun 10, 2006
THe performances on stage are worth the trip to the movie complex. Even if the connecting story doesn't excite, the characters and performances do. I'll go see it again. It made me feel good about the world.
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10
BillyS.Jun 10, 2006
About 10 minutes into "A Prairie Home Companion" a wave of giddy anticipation sweeps over you like a warm cuddly blanket and you find yourself wishing that it simply will not end, let the last show at the Fitzgerald Theatre just go on and About 10 minutes into "A Prairie Home Companion" a wave of giddy anticipation sweeps over you like a warm cuddly blanket and you find yourself wishing that it simply will not end, let the last show at the Fitzgerald Theatre just go on and on, song after song, skit after skit and I can sit in the nostalgic glow of an America that I so fondly remember and is slowly fading from my memory bit by bit, day by day. Robert Altman has made the perfect bookend to Nashville. It's touching, funny(at times hysterical), and except for a scene about duct tape-unpolitical. The cast is brilliant. Kevin Kline gives his best screen performance since "A Fish Called Wanda", Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin are simply resplendent, Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly practically steal the the whole movie with their dirty joke medley, Virginis Masden wanders around the theatre dressed in a white trench coat reminiscent of Jessica Lange in "All That Jazz" and Garrison Keiller is so good you wonder why he hasn't pursued acting roles before. A Prairie Home Companion is a Landmark film from a Landmark director who, if there is a God, will finally win a Best Director Oscar in February 2007!!! I bow to you, Mr. Altman, BRAVO. Expand
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9
LDH.Jun 10, 2006
This movie is just a delight. It is extremely engaging, well written, well acted. I would have given it a 10, but I wasn't crazy about the angel. All four of us enjoyed ourselves immensely. It has been a long time since I have felt that This movie is just a delight. It is extremely engaging, well written, well acted. I would have given it a 10, but I wasn't crazy about the angel. All four of us enjoyed ourselves immensely. It has been a long time since I have felt that way about a movie. Expand
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9
MichaelL.Jun 25, 2006
An absolute joy. Filled with perfect performances and wonderfully nuanced moments. I feel genuinely sad for people who can't relax and enjoy this film; it's sweet, and strangely life-affirming considering it's basically a An absolute joy. Filled with perfect performances and wonderfully nuanced moments. I feel genuinely sad for people who can't relax and enjoy this film; it's sweet, and strangely life-affirming considering it's basically a meditation on death. Streep and Tomlin are amazing (Oscar nods to both, I say), as are Reilly and Harrelson. Only Kevin Kline annoys, which is why I give PHC a 9 rather than a 10. Ignore the nay-sayers and escape from the madness of life in 2006--see this film. Collapse
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8
JGMJul 7, 2006
It might help to think of this less as a traditional "movie" than as an opportunity to wander around backstage for a while during a fictionalized version of the radio program. Of course all the kids -- and some of the reviewers -- It might help to think of this less as a traditional "movie" than as an opportunity to wander around backstage for a while during a fictionalized version of the radio program. Of course all the kids -- and some of the reviewers -- complaining "it has no plot" are missing the point (and any knowledge of Altman or film history). [***SPOILERS***] The pleasure of an Altman film is exactly in the immersion in a non-linear, no-formula "real world" of characters with back stories, front stories, and side stories, none of which coalesce into anything in particular (sort of like real life). In fact, the minor injections of story and "plot" provided by Jones' Axeman and the intrigue between the Kline and Masden characters here are the weakest aspect of the film, as Kelior and Altman struggle a bit to bridge the more fanciful aspects of the Guy Noir and Dangerous Woman symbol-characters with the naturalistic approach of much of the rest of the ensemble, notably Tomlin and Streep (Kevin Kline in particular seems to have stepped in from another movie altogether, which may very well be the point, except that I suspect that movie wasn't intended to be a "Pink Panther" sequel). Kellior, acting as lynchpin but not focal point, acquits himself well (though not unexpectedly, does most of his acting with his voice). Also of note is John C. Reilly, who seems to be able to do anything and whose effortless excursion here into comedy, music, and hints of dark-edged history summarizes the whole film. Expand
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10
AllenY.Aug 21, 2006
Have not laughed so hard in several years. It was good for the soul. If some reviewers think GK is slipping -- they should be so lucky to slip like that. They are taking life too seriously. With all the dumb stuff going on to be mad about Have not laughed so hard in several years. It was good for the soul. If some reviewers think GK is slipping -- they should be so lucky to slip like that. They are taking life too seriously. With all the dumb stuff going on to be mad about (Iraq ...) they need to find a real issue. Expand
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8
K.BirkAug 8, 2006
Lots of laughs, not much plot,weak ending. Better than most of this summers garbage disguised as movies.
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8
ReidF.Jan 27, 2007
I have rarely listened to the radio show, although I
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8
DavidZ.Oct 8, 2006
Very good.
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10
JamesJun 16, 2006
This is a great, great picture. Effortless because it's brilliant - everyone involved is at the top of their games - and brilliant because it's effortless - everyone understands where the thing's gently beating heart is and This is a great, great picture. Effortless because it's brilliant - everyone involved is at the top of their games - and brilliant because it's effortless - everyone understands where the thing's gently beating heart is and stays close to it. I can't imagine a stronger film this year. (And no, I don't work for the production company.) Expand
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8
MarkB.Jun 27, 2006
Even though one of the principals in this visualization of Garrison Keillor's beloved, semi-parodic Midwestern radio variety show is the Angel of Death busily plying her trade (she's played by Virginia Madsen who, with all due Even though one of the principals in this visualization of Garrison Keillor's beloved, semi-parodic Midwestern radio variety show is the Angel of Death busily plying her trade (she's played by Virginia Madsen who, with all due respect to poster Chris F., is sexier in a Casablanca trenchcoat than most women half her age are in thong bikinis), this is still Robert Altman's warmest and most accessible film since...Popeye? Nah, too weird. A Wedding? No, for a movie to be accessible partially means that someone had to see it in a theater...and sadly, virtually nobody did. M*A*S*H? Nope, even though it was a smash and everybody remembers it well, there's still the matter of all that bloody operating table footage, even if you can see far nastier in any CSI episode. I think you'd have to go back to one of those Bonanza episodes Altman helmed in his early days to find something in his resume that's this utterly crowd-pleasing (without compromising anything in content, form or characteristic Altman style; you still have to listen with elephant ears to catch as much of the overlapping conversation as possible, and even though you'll be lucky to catch 85% of it, it doesn't matter all that much to Altman if you do). A Texas conglomerate plans to shut the show down and we're treated to the final performance; one of the acts says goodbye sentimentally while another, figuring that they've got nothing to lose, riotously goes out with a series of bangs. Curiously, m/c "GK" (played by Keillor, whose charisma and command of stage, TV, radio and the printed word here extends to yet another medium; why didn't someone think of putting him before a movie camera before this? But then you also have to ask why didn't someone realize what a boffo comedy team Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly could be, or what heavenly duets Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin could make?) doesn't want to emphasize that the show is a farewell broadcast or anything other than just another performance. His attitude is reminiscent of that of the pilots in Howard Hawks' 1938 Only Angels Have Wings; in that one, whenever one of their number crashed and burned, his comrades responded by denying that he ever existed. Altman, like Hawks, has always been fascinated by workplace and/or group dynamics but is completely clear-eyed and unsentimental about the relationships: you get the clear impression that if the put-upon, extremely pregnant stage manager (Maya Rudolph) actually DID deliver backstage, most of the performers would respond by gingerly but quickly walking around mother and newborn child. However, there's a sunniness and optimism here that we haven't seen before; while Altman's previous studies of mass entertainment Nashville and The Player explicitly stated that the good, kind, decent and honest people working in the country music and movie industries are the ones who get totally, completely and irrevocably crushed, A Prairie Home Companion implies that there's definitely life, rewards, comraderie and hope after showbiz. When Altman received his honorary Oscar this year, many viewers who expected him to use the opportunity and pulpit to thumb his nose at Hollywood for not always making his career easy were apparently disappointed that he instead gave a relatively benign speech expressing his gratitude for the medical miracle that extended his life. Altman may claim that A Prairie Home Companion is about death, but like his acceptance speech, it's just as much the joyous song of a real survivor. Expand
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9
APickettJun 29, 2006
One warm chuckle after another - till all chuckles blended together to a lasting smile. Very very enjoyable.
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9
EmilyH.Jun 9, 2006
A very unusual and charming movie. Idealism, nostalgia, poetry and humor... the innocence and pride of our country's past generations.
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7
TabU.Jun 9, 2006
It's impossible to classify this wildly different mix of genre movie. Meryl Streep and Virginia Madsen stand out in wonderfully refreshing roles. The movie loses the Keillor sensibility at times and wanders off the expected path of pure It's impossible to classify this wildly different mix of genre movie. Meryl Streep and Virginia Madsen stand out in wonderfully refreshing roles. The movie loses the Keillor sensibility at times and wanders off the expected path of pure entertainment and dry wit, but the raunchy jokes, the underlying fabric of the movie contains a strong emotional message. Expand
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10
KaseyS.Aug 3, 2006
Aside from United 93, the best movie I've seen so far this year. The movie is both hysterical and extremely poignant. Casting was excellent. Acting was superb. I'm normally very anti-supernatural elements in movies, but in this Aside from United 93, the best movie I've seen so far this year. The movie is both hysterical and extremely poignant. Casting was excellent. Acting was superb. I'm normally very anti-supernatural elements in movies, but in this movie, it makes sense and was a brilliant way to tie in the theme. I can't wait for this to come out on DVD. Expand
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10
CalebC.Aug 4, 2006
As a fan of ever style of music and style of film this is pitch a perfect film. I have yet to see more of Altmans films now. I went to see this for many reasons. One being im a huge fan of Altmans "Gosford Park" and Roger Ebert named it one As a fan of ever style of music and style of film this is pitch a perfect film. I have yet to see more of Altmans films now. I went to see this for many reasons. One being im a huge fan of Altmans "Gosford Park" and Roger Ebert named it one of the best film of the year so far and he was right. (note not to be compared with Gosford Park they are two totally different films).The only reason Roper didn't like this was because of the music and I understand that. If you aren't a fan of drama or folk/gospelish music you just may not like this. But I do highly recomend this to anyone searching for an honestly great film......period. Expand
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10
RobertM.Jul 14, 2007
Absolutely brilliant !!! I enjoyed every second.
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10
JennyS.Aug 31, 2007
This is the best and most creative dramatization of loss and death that I have ever seen. GK, the great storyteller, describes how to live life without looking forward or back. Best film of 2006.
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10
JonJ.Sep 19, 2007
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 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. Expand
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9
ErnieA.Dec 17, 2006
The most enjoyment I had at the movies this year. Mark my words, this movie will stand the test of time. Lily Tomlin is incredible.
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8
MarkW.Oct 22, 2006
Captures the essence of GK's long-running radio show, spices it up with good casting, and folds the angelic Virginia Madsen into the mix. Easy on the mind!
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9
SydneyM.Jun 12, 2006
This is such a pleasure. A wonderful cast having so much fun. And, as always, the absorbing Altman direction. Quiet, reflective, engaging. A real treat.
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10
MelisaD.Jul 14, 2006
This is by far the best movie I have seen in the past two years!
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10
DZNov 13, 2006
A film that will never achieve acclaim as a modern classic, yet it entices you to a certain state. Blending humor, and tragedy, and fervently evoking our soul, Robert Altman & Garrison Keillor enlivens our heart, and minds. Altman & Keillor A film that will never achieve acclaim as a modern classic, yet it entices you to a certain state. Blending humor, and tragedy, and fervently evoking our soul, Robert Altman & Garrison Keillor enlivens our heart, and minds. Altman & Keillor focus on certain aspects of life, and death, and somewhere in between. A jovial experience that one would wish never ends. Expand
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7
SpangleDec 27, 2016
The final film from legendary director Robert Altman, A Prairie Home Companion is a funny, smart, and compelling film. A suitable conclusion to an incredible career, A Prairie Home Companion blends music and comedy brilliantly, while workingThe final film from legendary director Robert Altman, A Prairie Home Companion is a funny, smart, and compelling film. A suitable conclusion to an incredible career, A Prairie Home Companion blends music and comedy brilliantly, while working in contemplation on death that coincides with the end of a radio variety show. Based on the real life show that is still on the air, A Prairie Home Companion is about a long running weekly variety radio show that is set to be cancelled after the radio station was sold. Starring an ensemble cast, A Prairie Home Companion just feels oddly far too slight to have a lasting impact, but is still a worthy addition to Altman's extensive filmography.

Starring Garrison Keillor, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Lindsay Lohan, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline, Virginia Madsen, L.Q. Jones, Tim Russell, and Maya Rudolph, the film's greatest asset is its actors. With a star studded cast, the film is blessed with a wealth of terrific performances. As a private investigator who runs security for the show, Kevin Kline appears as Guy Noir. A part of the real life show, Guy Noir is an homage to film noir detectives and Kline knocks the role out of the part. From the great opening with Kline delivering a voice over akin to a 1940s film noir, the film opens with a roar. Accented with noir lighting on a dark night and a raspy delivery from Kline, the film made me realize I desperately need to find a neo-noir film with Kevin Kline. Alongside Kline, Meryl Streep turns in a terrifically great performance as Yolanda Johnson, one half of a singing sister duo. With a great voice and typically adept performance, Streep is a great almost calming presence next to her sister, portrayed by Lily Tomlin. With Tomlin playing a more boisterous sister, Streep's calm demeanor is a great anchor in scenes between the two. Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly are great as a cowboy singing duo with gruff, funny deliveries both on and off stage. The duo are both capable singers and adept comics with good delivery and timing throughout. Garrison Keillor and Lindsay Lohan also turn in great performances here, rounding a tremendous cast.

The second strength of this film is the music. Well-written and well performed, the music is a bit more country (hello Nashville) and is balanced between beautiful hymn-like music, straight up country, and comedic songs. Together, they really flow into one another with the actors all more than capable of hitting the right notes on stage. In particular, Streep is phenomenal in all of her songs and finds great chemistry in her duets with Tomlin. Garrison Keillor surprised me with his great voice in singing advertisements for the show, which almost become a running joke throughout with how often they come up. The music is all incredibly composed and really hits a lovely nostalgic note in how it honors the past of the show, the characters' lives, and country music as a whole. This really lends well to the ruminations on death ushered into the film by the angel Asphodal (Virginia Madsen). An angel sent by God to bring people to heaven or bring them simple comforts, Asphodal appears on the set and, though she does bring death, more symbolically stands out as the death of the show. Even as the characters hold out hope for the show to continue, her constant presence shows that this is unlikely to occur. It also forces the characters to face their own morality and come to grips with the fact that the past is the past and can no longer be a part of your present. It is best to let go (finding new jobs, doing eulogies, handing over power of attorney) than it is to hang on for too long and miss your time. The music really captures this note being both nostalgic and somber, but always incredibly pleasant to listen to during the film.

Yet, A Prairie Home Companion is oddly slight. Focusing solely on the final show, the film can become a bit tedious and repetitive during its slightly over 90 minute run time. While the characters are fun and engaging, the film is never as fun as it seems it should be. It is almost as if there is an inside joke that the audience is not privy to, which keeps us at an arm's length from the film. This is ultimately the film's biggest hindrance and likely the source of why the film received more mixed reviews from audience members as opposed to critics. It just does not feel as if every piece is there, which hurts the overall product. The ending certainly contributes to this with nothing but a quick voice over from Guy Noir tying the end of the show to the scene at the diner, which is too brief and ill-explained to really work.

With great performances, music, and a lush brown hue to the entire proceedings, A Prairie Home Companion is a funny, compelling, and occasionally odd film from Robert Altman. The last film of his career, it feels as though Altman knew it was time and created a film to bring comfort to those who loved his work.
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