Though many out there might not have heard of this country music legend, Hank Williams was the man who paved the way and inspired such future superstars as Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Though this film is the first that really tries to explore his adult life and music career. The focus in the Marc Abraham (Flash of Genius) film is weighted too heavily on his marriage and womanizing and too little on how his career and health fell apart due to his addictions.
Tom Hiddleston (Thor, Avengers Assemble) is probably best known for his roles in Marvel films as Loki. Based upon that sampling of his talent you might not hold the Brit in very high esteem. If you have seen him in other mini series like Wallander or The Night Manager then you would be aware of the breadth of his talent. He shows it off again in I Saw the Light. First of all, he has to do a Southern accent which he masters and second, he does all the singing himself; he is not lip syncing to Hank Williams’ songs. The fact that he was able to yodel like the man blew me away. Plus he mimics the onstage movements of the man perfectly. That is on top of allowing us a window into the pain and torment of the man that came out in his music. The Hank Williams created onscreen here is a man who was soulful and tormented. His bang on portrayal of the man along with the music transported me back to the 1940s and 50s.
The stuff around Hiddleston’s performance is not up to the standard he has set unfortunately. The fact that they focused almost entirely on his marriage to Audrey (Elizabeth Olsen – Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Age of Ultron) was an unwise choice, especially since the man did so much within the music world in such a short time. A bigger focus on his music process would have been interesting and added to the legend of the man.
What was involving was his addictions (to pain killers and alcohol) and his physical problems – back pain due to Spina Bifida Occulta and heart problems due to his drinking and drugs. How they played into his fall from grace as a Country music superstar to someone who was no longer welcomed at the Grand Ole Opry. We just skim over these parts, rarely digging deep enough for my liking.
-Commentary with Marc Abraham
-Illuminating the Legend: Inside I Saw the Light
-Previews of The Lady in the Van, Son of Saul, Maggie’s Plan, Dark Horse, The Meddler