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Somehow, this movie managed to hip and folksy at the same time. I remember being pleasantly surprised by its originality. It wasn't till later that I knew and realized it was an Altman movie, which was really fun because I got to experience the movie without the pretension of knowing it was an Altman movie.
Shadowing the swansong of the titular live broadcast radio variety show, Robert Altman's final film is an achingly darling and melancholic eulogy to an enchanting spell of old-timey merrymaking divertissement.
Weird, warm, worldly, and so very wonderfully Midwestern. From cast to camera, everything here is pitch perfect in its small, humble, human way.
I had no idea what I was getting into with this odd yet cozy little portrayal of an American icon. I expected the dialogue to be smart, the characters to be memorable, the humor to be sharp, & the music to be wonderful, & that was all fulfilled. However, the almost nihilistic existentialism that pervades the surprising fantasy elements threw me for a loop; I can't decide if they were misguided overreaches or acutely genius. Either way, I loved this movie, & I think it will only benefit from multiple viewings.
When I lived in Minnesota, I never paid too much attention to Garrison Keillor out at Lake Wobegon and his Prairie Home Companion radio show. I watched this film primarily because it was directed by Robert Altman, his last film, and it certainly bears his stamp (overlapping dialogue, large cast, indirect focus, camera zoom, meandering non-plot). The material is genial enough (written by Keillor) and well-suited to Altman's style. The age-old radio show is going to be shut down and the Fitzgerald Theatre demolished - we watch the last performance front-stage and back-stage. There's some folksy country music (sung by the likes of Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, and John C. O'Reilly), some folksy stories and witticisms by Keillor, some informal friendly banter among old friends, and then some bits of plot thrown in to move the film along. Lindsay Lohan is here doing not much. Don't start here with Altman but he does elevate the totally non-offensive material here. There's a place for this way back yonder in your parents' day, I think.
"A Prairie Home Companion" is a quirky and upbeat film that benefits from the strong performances from its ensemble cast.
This rambling, sprawling, star-studded concert film is as much an homage to your dad's favorite radio program as it is to Robert Altman's legacy.
The esoteric swan song of Robert Altman, "A Prairie Home Companion" is charming despite feeling like an imitation of the director's previous masterpieces, i.e. "Nashville" and "Short Cuts."
Exactly the film would want from this legendary show, plus a bit more.
Quaint, fun, and aching in the strangest way - it would be both great and terrible if more movies were like this one.