A Prairie Home Companion Reviews

Top Critic
Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 6, 2007
The movie, redolent of death, is a sort of wake, but a funny-sad one, teeming with music, corny jokes, and an ensemble of gifted performers who appear to be having an obscene amount of fun in one another's company.
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
January 4, 2007
Just lovely, and a magnificently enjoyable coda to an extraordinary career.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 1, 2006
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
June 14, 2006
It sparkles with a magic all its own as an engagingly performed piece of Midwestern whimsy and stoicism. Mr. Altman's flair for ensemble spectacle and seamless improvisation in the midst of utter chaos is as apparent as ever.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 14, 2006
What a lovely film this is, so gentle and whimsical, so simple and profound.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
June 12, 2006
Either you like that brand of music and humor or you don't. I am not a huge fan.
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Nathan Rabin
AV Club
June 9, 2006
Altman and Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion is fittingly both a celebration and a winning example of the joys of collaboration.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
June 9, 2006
Pass the Powdermilk Biscuits, slice the pie and serve the corn.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
June 9, 2006
It's a tribute to music's power to heal us, to the way a familiar tune brings a comfortable old-shoe smile and the way a group sing-along bonds those within it, creating a community in that moment.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
June 9, 2006
This is not one of the good Altmans. This isn't even one of the mediocre Altmans. No, the cinema's girl with the curl is back, and this time he's very, very bad.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 9, 2006
A Prairie Home Companion is about small-beer showbiz professionals who face extinction with a smile on their face, a song in their heart, and a biscuit in their belly.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
June 9, 2006
The movie brings us an old-fashioned radio variety show, in all its glory, and an old-fashioned Robert Altman movie, all ensemble-and-improvisation.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
June 9, 2006
For the rest of us, this is a woebegone world we not only don't know but don't particularly want to visit.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
June 9, 2006
Sketchy, rambling, tune-filled -- and, at best, mildly entertaining.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
June 9, 2006
This is a lovely marriage of two of America's wisest cultural observers, native Midwesterners and modern Mark Twains, who value their heritage while occasionally poking it with a stick.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
June 9, 2006
Even if you're not a regular listener of Keillor's show A Prairie Home Companion weaves a spell on you. It's a charmer.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
June 9, 2006
Nondevotees also should find a home in this agreeable, accessible Companion.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
June 9, 2006
A Prairie Home Companion is 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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
June 9, 2006
Streep's work aside, you can pretty much get all that's worth having out of the film by skipping it entirely and buying the soundtrack album.
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Tom Long
Detroit News
June 9, 2006
Those who have the sense to seek out this film will find themselves delightfully transported as Altman and screenwriter-star Garrison Keillor tackle issues of time, mortality and family while offering up great dollops of homespun entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
June 9, 2006
The movie is not just enormously entertaining, it is deeply moving, both in the way it celebrates storytelling and storytellers -- and in the unembarrassed way its creators and performers remind us how much we need them.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
June 9, 2006
If A Prairie Home Companion is director Robert Altman's swan song, it's a tune with plenty of sweet, rootsy grace notes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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David Germain
Associated Press
June 9, 2006
It's a suitable companion piece to past Altman forays into the arts such as Nashville and The Player, though lightweight by comparison.
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
June 9, 2006
Even with its feisty, anti-corporate sympathies, this movie adaptation of Garrison Keillor's beloved Midwestern radio drollery is a breezy affair.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
June 9, 2006
Good-humored and enormously entertaining but also sentimental and a little dishonest.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
June 9, 2006
Altman and Garrison Keillor have turned Keillor's beloved radio show into the sort of backstage entertainment allegory that brings out the best in the director.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
June 9, 2006
Fans should enjoy A Prairie Home Companion, a movie based on Keillor's satirical radio show, known for its dry Midwestern wit and fake ads for biscuits and duct tape.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
June 8, 2006
Whatever A Prairie Home Companion has to say about aging, about death, about the mutability of art, is never stated outright: And yet it's all there in the picture's rambunctious collage of moods.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
June 8, 2006
At its best, it's a gentle meditation on mortality. But at weaker moments it feels meandering and strangely empty.
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
June 8, 2006
Without Keillor's monologue and the show's collective inclusion on the joke, the movie falls into a strange nostalgia for something that hardly anyone remembers, if it ever really existed at all.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 8, 2006
A Prairie Home Companion is as heartwarming as a plate of Powdermilk Biscuits, as unexpected as a slice of rhubarb pie and as wistful as a chorus of Red River Valley.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
June 8, 2006
A late, minor addition to the Robert Altman collection but a treasure all the same A Prairie Home Companion is more likely to inspire fondness than awe.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
June 8, 2006
Although contemporary, the film has the deliberately antique flavor of old-time radio -- the world that existed before television.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
June 8, 2006
By the movie's own reckoning, it's a success: a dented, mysterious item that you would find buried in a secondhand store -- a relic of the old, weird America that Keillor so loves.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
June 8, 2006
A Prairie Home Companion tries to embrace the spirit of that longtime radio series but suffocates the very qualities that make the original show so special in the first place.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
June 8, 2006
The match between writer/star Garrison Keillor and director Robert Altman is a remarkably fine fit, and the film has a sweet 'September Song' poignancy.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
June 8, 2006
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.
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
June 8, 2006
Robert Altman adapts the radio to the screen, or the screen to the radio, in this affectionate, mortality-fixated salute to old-timey music, values and the timeless allure of Powdermilk biscuits.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
June 8, 2006
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. It's nice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
June 7, 2006
Despite a folksy, low-key appeal, this movie is likely to primarily interest fans of Garrison Keillor's popular radio program.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
June 7, 2006
What sustains the film is the performers' belief in their shaggy-dog selves, which is more than just talent -- it's faith.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
June 7, 2006
A Prairie Home Companion is about as charming as waking up with a dead animal in your bed.
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Rob Nelson
Village Voice
June 6, 2006
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.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
June 5, 2006
Emotionally, the movie is a queasy and unsatisfying experience.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
June 1, 2006
For those, me included, who used to think of Keillor's radio program as tepid, self-indulgent, repetitive and flat, you might even call it a revelation. Take a swig of this moonshine. There's magic in it.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
February 13, 2006
Rib-ticklingly funny at times and genial as all get-out.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
February 13, 2006
Garrison Keillor, impresario, creator and host of one of radio's longest running programs -- 31 years and counting -- and director Robert Altman are a match made in heaven.