A Prairie Home Companion

Rated 4.0

If the very idea of director Robert Altman and Garrison Keillor collaborating on a movie based on Keillor’s long-running radio show is enough to make you smile with anticipation, the movie won’t disappoint you. Keillor’s script (from a story by him and Ken LaZebnik) imagines the almost unthinkable: the last broadcast of the show, which is ending so that its theater can be turned into a parking lot. On hand are singers (Lily Tomlin, Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, L.Q. Jones and Lindsay Lohan), a private eye (Kevin Kline) and a mysterious woman wafting through the theater (Virginia Madsen). There’s an elegiac air—wistful without being depressing—with quiet little hat tips to the 81-year-old Altman’s unique career. The movie is a shaggy-dog trifle, but it’s a sweet and lovely one.