6.7/10
21,604
281 user 208 critic

A Prairie Home Companion (2006)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Music | 9 June 2006 (USA)
Trailer
2:17 | Trailer
A look at what goes on backstage during the last broadcast of America's most celebrated radio show, where singing cowboys Dusty and Lefty, a country music siren, and a host of others hold court.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Garrison Keillor (screenplay), Garrison Keillor (story) | 1 more credit »
5 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marylouise Burke ... Lunch Lady
Woody Harrelson ... Dusty
L.Q. Jones ... Chuck Akers
Tommy Lee Jones ... The Axeman
Garrison Keillor ... GK
Kevin Kline ... Guy Noir
Lindsay Lohan ... Lola Johnson
Virginia Madsen ... Dangerous Woman
John C. Reilly ... Lefty
Maya Rudolph ... Molly
Tim Russell ... Stage Manager
Sue Scott ... Makeup Lady
Meryl Streep ... Yolanda Johnson
Lily Tomlin ... Rhonda Johnson
Tom Keith Tom Keith ... Self - Sound Effects Man
Learn more

More Like This 

The Company (2003)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Ensemble drama centered around a group of ballet dancers, with a focus on one young dancer who's poised to become a principal performer.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Neve Campbell, James Franco, Malcolm McDowell
Kansas City (1996)
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A pair of kidnappings expose the complex power dynamics within the corrupt and unpredictable workings of 1930s Kansas City.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miranda Richardson, Harry Belafonte
Short Cuts (1993)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The day-to-day lives of several suburban Los Angeles residents.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Andie MacDowell, Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Conflict arises in the small town of Holly Springs when an old woman's death causes a variety of reactions among family and friends.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Liv Tyler
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A wealthy gynecologist's ideal life is thrown into turmoil when the women closest to him begin to affect his life in unexpecting ways.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett
Gosford Park (2001)
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The lives of upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a party in 1932 in a country house in England as they investigate a murder involving one of them.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Maggie Smith, Ryan Phillippe, Michael Gambon
Nashville (1975)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Over the course of a few hectic days, numerous interrelated people prepare for a political convention as secrets and lies are surfaced and revealed.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Keith Carradine, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

"Everybody's Making Pictures," observes Martin Scorsese in this sly sequel to Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau's Emmy Award-winning satirical miniseries, Tanner '88. Sixteen years after Jack... See full synopsis »

Stars: Cynthia Nixon, Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed
A Wedding (1978)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The daughter of a Louisville truck driver marries the scion of a very wealthy family, but the reception at the family estate is boycotted by the invited guests.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Carol Burnett, Desi Arnaz Jr., Paul Dooley
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A lawyer uses his power to help his lover put her father behind bars, but when he escapes, they are all in danger.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Embeth Davidtz, Robert Downey Jr.
The Player (1992)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected, but which one?

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward
3 Women (1977)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two roommates/physical therapists, one a vain woman and the other a mysterious teenager, share a bizarre relationship.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule
Edit

Storyline

A final live variety show broadcast via radio becomes a metaphor for the natural order of life. A concept and script by Garrison Keilor uses every natural and technical element of working with a tight and close ensemble producing a weekly show to sooth us and guide us through the natural but difficult transitions of aging, becoming less relevant and then dying as new, young life develops and strengthens during our final "performances." This is a rare film for it's remarkable cast and crew and one wonders how the great Robert Altman was able to gather them all at the same place and time to shoot this film. Written by Dave Seaman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Live every show like it's your last. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for risque humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

George Clooney was offered the role of detective Guy Noir, but was forced to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film, the Dangerous Woman approaches GK, Noir, and the Johnson Sisters sitting second-to-the-end booth of the diner. Dusty and Lefty are at the counter. They don't leave, but they disappear after the Dangerous Woman enters the diner. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Radio Announcer: Market reports today, barrows and gilts uh two hundred twenty to two hundred sixty pounds, they're lower at forty dollars uh sows are steady three hundred five hundred pounds thirty four to thirty seven dollars going over to feeder cattle, beef steers - one hundred twenty to one hundred fifty dollars and two hundred to three hundred
[fade out]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a credit for Sign Painter in the film, although it does not appear on the official site. See more »


Soundtracks

My Minnesota Home
Music: "The Old Folks At Home" by Stephen Foster
Additional Lyrics by Garrison Keillor
Performed by Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin and The Guys All-Star Shoe Band
See more »

User Reviews

 
This is Altman in his element
21 May 2006 | by samseescinemaSee all my reviews

A Prairie Home Companion

rating: 3.5 out of 4

In truth, I'm not one to worship Robert Altman. His films—barring the rarities—have been, for me, mostly inconsequential. They're wispy and lighthearted and mostly nonchalant. They work, but on a momentary basis; acting like a bubble that bursts the second the lights go up. Most of the same can be said about A Prairie Home Companion. Only, this time is simply works better.

Garrison Keillor who penned the "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show also works the fingers behind the typewriter for its film adaptation. His script has a kind of "concentrated structure" to it; it's duration running throughout "A Prairie Home Companion's" final live broadcasted show. He balances onstage performance between backstage interactions, the camera smoothly swirling amongst the audience, the stage, and the inner workings of the theatre.

If Altman flashed the negative to achieve a washed-out look for The Long Goodbye, he did quite the opposite for A Prairie Home Companion. The cinematography is rich and sensational, often whirling between different sets in long, gorgeously extended shots. This isn't your typical backstage DV debacle; but the work of a director at the very height of his career.

The cast is yet another stunning ensemble, most of them probably flocking to Altman's direction. Beat this: Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Kline, Lily Tomlin, Virginia Madsen, Tommy Lee Jones, Lindsay Lohan, John C.Reilly, and Garrison Keillor. Yeah. The beauty of the film is that none of these actors quite seem to be acting. Attribute this to Altman's classic overlapping dialogue, but don't forget to bow your heads to the performers as well. Often I'm annoyed by Altman's stubborn persistence with overlapping dialogue. I'll argue that when Altman should be trying to make cinema, he insists on imitating real life. But with A Prairie Home Companion, the overlapping dialogue is mandatory. Altman's best when he's making a film mostly about people and not about story. This is most obvious here. My one complaint with the film is its aversion to storyline. But this isn't too much of a problem because A Prairie Home Companion is, if nothing else, about the people of the radio show. This is a story about human beings, where overlapping dialogue is only expected.

The story finds itself toeing the line with magical realism. Virginia Madsen plays The Dangerous Woman, who Guy Noir (Kevin Kline) first describes as a femme fatale, and later as an angel. As she convinces us of her divinity, Noir finds a way to use her as an assassin to ward off the buyers of the radio show. This fantasy element works only to heighten the vibrancy of the rest of the film, where feet stay firmly planted to reality. Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin play the singing sisters Yolanda and Rhonda Johnson, with Lindsay Lohan as their gloomy daughter Lola. The three, as contrasting as the actors are on paper, flit about in a realm of familial nostalgia, with Lola penciling out her suicidal songs and scoffing beside their make-up mirrors. John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson are Dusty and Lefty, the singing cowboys who crack dirty jokes backstage and jerk the chain of censorship with Al (Tim Russell), the stage manager. Chuck Akers (L.Q. Jones) and Evelyn (Marylouise Burke) are the elderly lovebirds who chase a potentially fatal lovemaking. And holding all these characters together is Garrison Keillor, whose nostalgia is matched only by his pragmatism and lack of sentimentality towards the show's demise. His performance is probably the most memorable, as the picture is fuller when he strolls about within it, offering truth to the blind antics of some of the other roles with his endless cache of stories.

A Prairie Home Companion's bubble doesn't burst as the lights go up. Instead, we find ourselves wishing the show would go on and the performers keep up doing their crazy little acts. This is Altman in his element; where humans are meant to be portrayed as humans. It's still lighthearted and mostly nonchalant, sure, but it's also about nostalgia and reminiscence, and the beauty that surrounds a family built behind the red curtains and a WLT microphone.


150 of 201 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 281 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Norwegian

Release Date:

9 June 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Prairie Home Companion See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,566,293, 11 June 2006

Gross USA:

$20,342,852

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,986,497
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed