We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
What a lovely film this is, so gentle and whimsical, so simple and profound. Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion" is faithful to the spirit of the radio program, a spirit both robust and fragile, and yet achieves something more than simply reproducing a performance of the show. It is nothing less than an elegy, a memorial to memories of times gone by, to dreams that died but left the dreamers dreaming, to appreciating what you've had instead of insisting on more.
This elegiac strain is explained by the premise that we are watching the last performance of the weekly show. After a final singing of "Red River Valley" (the saddest of all songs), the paradise of the Fitzgerald Theater will be torn down so they can put up a parking lot. After 30 years, the show will be no more.
The show is hosted by a man referred to as G.K., and played by Garrison Keillor as a version of himself, which is about right, because he always seems to be a version of himself. Keillor, whose verbal and storytelling genius has spun a whole world out of thin air, always seems a step removed from what he does, as if bemused to find himself doing it. Here his character refuses to get all sentimental about the last program, and has a dialogue with Lola (Lindsay Lohan), a young poet who likes suicide as a subject. It seems to her G.K. should offer up a eulogy; there is sufficient cause, not only because of the death of the program, but because a veteran of the show actually dies during the broadcast.
"I'm of an age when if I started to do eulogies, I'd be doing nothing else," he says.