I Saw The Light

This movie meant to be Hank Williams’ Walk The Line, but it fails in every way imaginable.

Tom Hiddleston, as the country-western crooner, is no Joaquin Phoenix, and I do mean that in the nastiest way possible. I’m never a fan of Hiddleston, but in this he’s charmless and unforgivably bland, though it’s at least as much the fault as writer-director Marc Abraham who apparently thinks Hank Williams is the most boring man on earth but decided to make a movie about him anyway.

It doesn’t help that Hank Williams just isn’t that interesting a subject. Oh, he drinks, you say? Cheats on his wife? Squabbles with his bandmates? As if we have seen MV5BMTg3MDcxNzc3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTMxNDA1MDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,666,1000_AL_exactly those issues in better movies than this a hundred times before. And Williams just doesn’t have the allure of Johnny Cash or the talent of Ray Charles or the magnetism of James Brown. He’s just an entitled white dude who made life rough for himself. He made some music and then he died. Hank Williams may be a legend, but you’d never know it from this movie. It makes him seem banal and tiresome. And that’s gotta be hard to do to a man known as the King of Country Music, influencer of Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan, prolific song writer, winner of a posthumous Pulitzer for craftsmanship.

Of course, the film itself is unstructured and just sort of plods along, dragging its feet through the obligatory musician-biopic tropes like womanizing and shenanigans on tour. Abraham seems to be a pretty dull fellow and he’s fully committed to bathing everyone else in that same flat light. The only thing consistent about I Saw The Light is how relentlessly lifeless it is. Neither Hiddleston nor Elizabeth Olsen can do a single thing about it, and you’d kind of expect more from a Loki-Scarlett Witch combo. There should be sparks at the very least. Instead, Olsen’s Audrey Williams (Hank’s first wife) has a heart full of self-interest and their turbulent marriage seems always to be two paths rapidly diverging. Only Hank’s semi-weird relationship with his mother (Cherry Jones) provides the slightest kindling, but that’s neglected and the smoke dissipates before there’s fire. Pity.

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10 thoughts on “I Saw The Light

  1. fragglerocking

    I think everyone and his/her dog has dissed this one but I quite enjoyed it. I suppose being a little sweet on Hiddlestone had something to do with that, I thought he did his best with what he was given.

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  2. tubularsock

    Sounds to Tubularsock, that there cowpoke done rode off into the sunset at the beginning of this film and the entire herd died.

    Oh well, let Tubularsock put his guitar to the side …… the ballad’s done dead!

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  3. ninvoid99

    I saw this film a few years ago and got bored by it. It didn’t really do anything to flesh out who Williams really is and such. Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen really didn’t get any strong material to work with as it was a real dud.

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  4. J.

    Good grief. I forgot all about this. I’ve never been interested in it, as I made too many mistakes with music biopics (Walk The Line… oooft), but this review suggests there’s not a single redeeming feature.

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