MOVIE REVIEW: I Saw the Light

The Hank Williams Story featuring Loki and Scarlet Witch

The true story of one of Country Musics greatest stars starring Tom Hiddleston and everyone’s favourite Olsen, Elizabeth.

Growing up in Ireland there is something about American Country Music that seems to be thrown at us. Maybe it was during the 70’s and 80’s anyway.  But I grew up with Parents that would sing, badly, country songs.  My brothers would remedy this by singing or playing their newer music but these country songs seeped through and led to about 10 years of me following Garth Brooks like some obsessed nutcase.  Anyway, I knew of Hank Williams and his music, but didn’t know much about his life before this film.

The film is okay as Music biopic’s go, it’s a little stale as it follows the formula that other music biopic’s follow, and brought to mind Walk Hard.  It should not have done that, but it did, and here we are.

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The music is great and there are some toe tapping classics through the film, with Hiddleston singing and doing a damn fine job at a Hank impersonation.  Hiddleston’s performance is quite good too, as is Olsen, and you can see why their romance is off-screen too as their chemistry is electric.  Olsen plays Williams Wife Audrey, who has aspirations of her own in the music industry only, like so many Americas got Talent hopefuls, she can’t sing a note.  It doesn’t stop her and she makes Hanks life hell if he tries to put her off singing with him.  She’s not a likable character or at least they make her out to be one of the most venomous characters in the film.  Hiddleston plays Williams as a driven man, his demons with alcohol, and career being important to him.  His health failing and his bucking against the system not helping either.

I was entertained, I knew more about Williams than I did before the film started, the music and performances were good.  That’s the crux of the matter.  What I didn’t like was the camera work, which felt as though it was being shot from a dingy about two feet away from the actors, gave me a little queasy feeling.  Also the film could have shown something different but followed the paint by numbers direction of those biopic’s that came before it.  You can almost pick the scenes from Walk the Line and Ray that were seemingly stolen and just placed here.  I know a lot of these stars of this time had similar backgrounds and stories, but for the sake of all that is good about the cinema, did they have to just follow in line.  I have to rethink Miles Ahead, the Miles Davis bio, as at least it offered a little something different.

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Don’t get me wrong, with two blistering stars who have great chemistry on and off-screen, giving their all here it’s a good watch.  If you like Country Music and the music and settings of the 40’s and 50’s then you’ll have more to love here.  Maybe I’m getting a little jaded but I just wanted something original to greet me.  I have no problems with these type of movies, but I am feeling that at this point you can show me a biopic of any American Artist and I could almost write the lines of the script out before I see it.  Would I watch it again?  Maybe, in a few years, when my memory finally goes and I haven’t watched a biopic for about 10 years.  Should you? Yes.  It’s a good night out and my weary mind may be getting the best of me.

Director: Marc Abraham
Writers: Marc Abraham, Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen
Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Maddie Hasson

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