I Saw the Light

"Weak"

I Saw the Light Review


Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams, but the film is far too choppy to provide much insight. Leaping through the decades without much context, the film never explores what made Williams such an important artist, so it's difficult to understand the impact of his tragic death at just 29. That said, Tom Hiddleston shines in the role.

Cutting around in time, the film shows Hank (Hiddleston) as a young man with a singular vision: he's determined to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. His young wife Audrey (Elizabeth Olsen) and his mother Lillie (Cherry Jones) argue about who will control his career, but Hank just gets on with it, relying on help from music publisher Fred Rose (Bradley Whitford). Finally at 26 he gets his first No 1 single, and lands a spot at the Opry, becoming a fast-rising superstar. But the chronic back pain he has suffered since childhood leads him into alcohol and drug abuse, which of course begins to take a toll on his career as well as his friendships, marriage and health.

The film skips around Williams' life, moving on to the next scene before this one seems quite finished. This means that the story is never able to build up any momentum, and also that each fragmented period of time feels under-explained. And the people around Williams appear and disappear at random, so the actors never get any traction in their roles. Hiddleston does find moments of resonance, simply because he's in every scene in the film and establishes a bit of rapport with the audience. It's also astonishing that he performs the songs himself. But Abrahams's approach to storytelling never offers any insight into Williams' fame, talents or personal life.

Worst of all is that the film never captures a sense of his relationships. Hiddleston has great chemistry with Olsen, as well as Maddie Hasson and Wrenn Schmidt as two other important women in Williams' life. But the way the story is assembled leaves these romances as disconnected snippets. The same can be said about William's stardom, his alcoholism and even his womanising. They're here, but they never amount to anything meaningful. Instead, it just seems like we're watching a gifted man waste away in a series of mopey, jarringly uneven moments. Abrahams clearly was trying to avoid the cliched structure of these kinds of musical biographies, but in the process he lost track of the man himself.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for I Saw The Light:



I Saw the Light

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 123 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st April 2016

Production compaines: Bron Studios, RatPac Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Aaron L. Gilbert, G. Marq Roswell

Starring: as Hank Williams, as Audrey Mae Williams, as James Dolan, as Fred Rose, as Billie Jean, as Dore Schary, Wrenn Schmidt as Bobbie Jett, as Lillie Williams, as Oscar Davis, Wayne Pére as Toby Marshall, as WB Nowlin, as Cliff Rogers, Candice Harrison as Roadhouse Patron, Cory Hart as Back Pain Doctor, NM Garcia as Ryman Auditorium / Cow Coliseum Gal, Caroline Hebert as Ellie, Justin Lebrun as Concert attendant, Casey Bond as Jerry Rivers, Elliott Grey as Banker, Emily Marie Palmer as Campbell, Vanessa Amaya as Hank Snow, Jeff Caperton as Female passerby, Erica Curtis as Mrs. Jones, Jayson Warner Smith as StageHand Supervisor, Bethany Blakey as Pedestrian, Denise Gossett as Hospital Nurse / MGM Pedestrian, Christopher Heskey as Concert goer, Gary Teague as Performer / Hotel Bar Patron, Skyler Davenport as Howard Pill, Allison Claye as Charles Carr, Rebecca Chulew as Bar Woman, Douglas M. Griffin as Bar Waitress, Mattie Liptak as Musician, as Boyette, Gretchen Koerner as Patron, Bryan Michael Hall as Ronald

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


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