A Prairie Home Companion (PG)
dir: Robert Altman
When an artist dies, the temptation to read some parting message into his or her swansong becomes irresistible. That urge is particularly strong with A Prairie Home Companion, the 34th picture by the mighty Robert Altman, who died in November, aged 81. This is a film permeated by thoughts of death--not just physical death, but the passing of eras and traditions.
There is even a kind of Grim Reaper figure mingling with the mortal characters, though with the effervescent Virginia Madsen in the role, the reaping was never going to be that grim. Neither, for that matter, is the film--in fact, it is one of this …