Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I Saw The Light
Released March 25, 2016 (Limited - US)
2 hr 3 mins
Rated R
Drama, Music


Director: Marc Abraham
Writer: Marc Abraham (based on Hank Williams: The Biography by Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen)

Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams
Elizabeth Olsen as Audrey Sheppard Williams
Cherry Jones as Lillie Skipper Williams
Bradley Whitford as Fred Rose
Maddie Hasson as Billie Jean
Wrenn Schmidt as Bobbie Jett
David Krumholtz as James Dolan
Josh Pais as Dore Schary
James DuMont as WB Nolan
Casey Bond as Jerry Rivers
Michael Rinne as Lum York
Joshua Brady as Sammy Pruett
Wes Langlois as Don Helms
Von Lewis as Ray Price
Fred Parker Jr. as Faron Young
Rob Boltin as Frank Walker

Review by Stephen M.

I Saw The Light which tells the story of country singer Hank Williams on his rise to stardom and sudden death at the age of 29.  Tom Hiddleston, yes, the British actor known for his role as Loki in the Marvel films plays a young southern country singer known for his tumultuous battles with alcohol, women and ultimately himself.  

Tom Hiddleston performs all the songs in the movie as Hank Williams is quite impressive, along with guitar skills to boot.  Does he capture the essence of Hank Williams?  I am not old enough to have seen him perform or watched any video recordings of Hank so I cannot say.  However, Tom's stage presence as Hank Williams is quite lackluster in itself that would have faced worse criticism than Hank's first wife Audrey did in their performing days.  And while the film addresses Hank's alcoholic problem and womanizing ways, there often seems to be a disconnect in Tom's character and the story with the audience in its message.  

While it is a valiant effort by Tom Hiddleston in getting out of his comfort box in this role, both his performance and the film itself is a bit of a letdown.  Country music fans may find this film interesting, but casual fans may want to skip this as there are better musical biopics available in recent years such as Straight Outta Compton.  One of the lone bright moments of the movie is Elizabeth Olson as Hank's first wife Audrey in a very good performance.  Audrey who struggles to raise Hank up and keep him out of trouble while carving a path of her own made more of an interesting story than Hank's in this film and there in lies the problem.

Rating: 2 Stars out of 5 Stars

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