A Prairie Home Companion



Quirky, provocative film about relationships.
  • Review Date: October 10, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Sisters and former loves argue, some characters resist corporate takeover of community radio station.


Song about a dog dying; poem about suicide (written by teenager); man dies in his underwear while waiting for a sexual tryst; "Angel of Death" discusses death, touches man before he dies; "Angel" describes her own death in a car accident.


Bawdy jokes/songs about sexual activity ("Come ride my pony all night"); reference to "naked man" arrangement for a possible romantic encounter.


One use each of s-word and "ass," two "damns," several uses of "hell," metaphorical allusions to sex.


Radio announcers promote fictional products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarette rolling and smoking; liquor drinking, jokes about drinking, drunkenness, and Viagra.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this drama explores the idea of death, featuring a metaphorical figure (a woman in a white raincoat who is both an "angel of death" and a dead woman brought to temporary life). One character writes poems about suicide, another dies backstage, asleep in a chair, and others respond with tears on discovering his body (the dead man had arranged for a sexual interlude). The on-stage radio show includes bawdy jokes about sex (mostly using euphemisms) and minor quarrelling between former lovers and sisters. Characters smoke and drink liquor. A cowboy performer holds a prop gun. Mild language (one s-word, some uses of "hell" and "damn"), including sexual and body parts references.

Kids say

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What's the story?

In A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, Lola (Lindsay Lohan) spends most of her time behind the scenes at her mom Yolanda's (Meryl Streep) radio show, which is fashioned after the show that screenwriter and costar Garrison Keillor has been performing for 32 years. As her mother and Aunt Rhonda (Lily Tomlin) prepare to go onstage as the singing Johnson Sisters, the angst-ridden teen writes dark poems. Surrounded by adults, wants to be heard and to disappear, and she's distracted by a mysterious family history. The crew has just learned that the radio station has been sold and the show cancelled. For their last show, the regulars perform, quarrel, and make up. Security guard, Guy Noir (Kevin Kline), spots an intruder, a Dangerous Woman (Virginia Madsen), who wanders through the theater, unnerving Guy and reminding you that death is ever imminent. As if to stave it off, the performers stick to their routines, singing old songs, cracking old jokes, remembering old times. With Yolanda watching from offstage, Lola makes her first public performance on the show's last night. And in this moment, she emerges from the dressing room to reveal old-fashioned talent and scrappy ingenuity.

Is it any good?


Like other Robert Altman movies, A Prairie Home Companion is meandering and provocative, a contemplation of familial and romantic relationships that leads to small revelations. It is in Lola that the film locates something like a conventional narrative, for better and worse.

Lola's transformation is heartening. By film's end, Lola's transformed yet again, resembling a corporate sort herself, in a snappy suit and wielding a cell phone with headset, swooping through town to offer her mother advice on looking after her "assets." It's a brief moment, a lively and broadly comic coda. It's something else as well, an acknowledgment rather than an out-of-hand condemnation of time's toll. It's possibility.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's contemplation of death, as an inevitable transition (characters' deaths as well as the passing of the radio show). How does Lola's initial interest in suicide reflect her own adolescent worries about expectations, as well as her family's knotty emotional history? How does she reconcile with her nervous, distracted mother through their shared love of music and desire for connection?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 9, 2006
DVD release date:October 10, 2006
Cast:Lily Tomlin, Lindsay Lohan, Meryl Streep
Director:Robert Altman
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:for risque humor.

This review of A Prairie Home Companion was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 14 year old Written byTsion July 4, 2009

You May Have to Think for a While...

A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION is many things. First off, it's a comedy, filled with weird, quirky characters and lots of laughs induced by physical and vulgar humor. Next, it's a spiritual film, filled with thought-provoking, metaphorical references to life and death. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it's a labor of love. The love the writers, actors, and director felt for this odd project shines through in every scene of the movie. The initial plot of the film is very simple, but as the film continues it thickens and gets more confusing. You'll have to ponder it for a little while. But, even if some of it doesn't make sense at first, you can still feel warm sense of love, laughs, and nostalgia shine through in every part of the film. There is some sexual humor: a man dies while preparing for a tryst with a co-worker, and crude names are made for various parts of both male and female anatomy. One song contains a string of bad, corny sexual jokes, but it's nothing worse than a 13-year-old has already heard. There is also some mild language.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul April 9, 2008

Saw this openeing day after waiting for it a while, and I was not let down

This is an excellent movie, and funny too. I like how the movie was filmed in real-time, like United 93. Obviously, I have a different sense of humor than some people, but I loved this movie, even if some call it "quirky". As for content, there wasn't anything that bad except for some sexual jokes ("Risque humor"). So by all mean, I recommend that you go and see this movie. Right now. As in leave this computer. Go. Now.
Adult Written byI Love Movies April 9, 2008


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