A Prairie Home Companion

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
A Prairie Home Companion Movie Poster Image
Quirky, provocative film about relationships.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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... Continue reading
Adult Written byI Love Movies April 9, 2008
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... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate