Cert: 15 Runtime: 123 mins Director: Marc Abraham Cast: Tom Hiddelstone, Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones, Maddie Hasson and David Krumholtz
Everyone has a little darkness in them
The best part about going into a film with low expectations is being pleasantly surprised. “I Saw the Light” is Marc Abraham’s biopic about country music legend, Hank Williams. I am no fan of country music, but I’ll be honest, I am a big fan of Tom Hiddleston. Hank Williams was one of the true giants of the country music scene. As the singer of such classic songs as “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Hey, Good Lookin'”, and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, he was a trailblazing talent who lived fast and died young. The movie explores Williams’ rise to fame and the tragic effect it had on his health and personal life. In preparation for the lead role, Tom Hiddleston learned to play the guitar and ran ten miles and cycled 15 miles everyday to copy Williams’ pencil-thin appearance. Despite living a very short life (Williams died when he was only 29), Williams managed to write and release dozens of hit singles and leave an everlasting mark on the history of music. “I Saw the Light” attempts to capture this short, but brightly burning star, in his entirety and in doing so, manages to miss on most everything.
There is no denying that both Hiddleston and Olsen give remarkably nuanced performances and Hiddleston’s transformation from English gentleman to small-town Southern boy is nothing short of brilliant, but sadly not even their acting can make up for a poorly conceived and executed story. The story, while apparently linear, jumps from place to place, with little explanation, thus leaving the audience to try and fill in the missing pieces, which is an impossible task for those who do not know Hank Williams’ life. “I Saw the Light” is a flawed film from the structure, to the script, with some truly cringe worthy lines, to some terrible use of hand held cameras, yet I still enjoyed myself. Knowing that it was not a great film, I was able to just focus on what were Oscar worthy performances by both Hiddleston and Olsen. I left with little understanding of Hank Williams, but perhaps a better appreciation of his music. It was a fine way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. If you like Olsen or Hiddleston, it is worth seeing.