I Saw the Light (2015)

Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Maddie Hasson, Bradley Whitford,
The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.
  • 5.7 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen, Writer:
  • Marc Abraham, Director:
  • Aaron L. Gilbert, Brett Ratner, Producer:


7 / 10

See ISTL for Tom Hiddleston's great performance and for Hank's eternal songs

It's a shame that some of this film's structural flaws will keep many from seeing one of the best on screen performances I've seen in years. Hiddleston's Hank Williams is a masterful creation: haunting, driven and soulful with the added bonus of Hiddleston doing his own singing and playing (no lip-syncing) including Hank's famous yodel.

While the film would have benefited with less marital squabbling and more music, it nonetheless takes one on an gripping journey of an American music icon's tragic life and short but amazing career.

Elizabeth Olson as Audrey, William's headstrong wife, does a fine job but I could have done with less of their relationship story and more about Hank's musical process. Cherry Jones is also excellent as Hank's bossy mom.

The stellar singing in the opening segment is worth the price of admission.

9 / 10

Well done biography type picture that told the rise and fall of a country legend who went quick at a young age.

Growing up I was more familiar with Hank Williams Jr. and his music still I heard stories about the life and hard times of his legendary dad Hank Sr. and how that his life was short and tragic. With this film a biography typed called "I Saw the Light"(a hit Williams song)it's very informative and interesting as it shows the rise and complex life of a man who battled the bottle and women which all lead to his tragic young end.

Tom Hiddleston is in top form as the country legend he plays Hank to near perfection from his accent to his posture and movements and actually does a pretty good job singing Hank Williams songs. The film just really is a chapter by chapter turn in the life of the country western music legend showing his rise to fame sadly the fame was mixed with man problems like failed marriages and many different lady friends and Hank had plenty of kids with different mothers as they gave birth to them out of wedlock. And his biggest inner personal demons was his battle with the bottle, it's clear the sorrow and sadness of Hank's short life was fueled by alcohol and whiskey. Overall well done film that shed light on the tragic life of a young legend.

7 / 10

From a big Hank fan...

I'm only 25 years old, but I have almost all of Hank's music and have read multiple books in high school about him (including "Hank Williams: The Biography" by Colin Escott). So needless to say, I had high hopes for this movie.

I feel like my high hopes were mostly met. I thought the movie did a very good job of laying out Hank's life and showing his stardom as well as struggles. I didn't like as much that it was rated R vs a PG-13 for "Walk the Line", but then again, anyone who has studied Hank knows that his life was rough and he wasn't candy-coated by any means.

I think Tom Hiddleston does a very good job as Hank, though maybe not QUITE as spot on as I would've liked. But when a big movie comes out about probably my biggest musical artist of all-time, I won't complain. From what I've read, Mr. Hiddleston was basically trained to be as spot-on as possible, and when I saw the movie, he had me believing it was Hank. Elizabeth Olsen did a very good job as Audrey as well.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the movie and am anticipating any special edition releases when it comes out on DVD in a few months. Of course, there were moments of sadness especially toward the end, but there were also moments of happiness and (at least for me) a few chuckles. Although I wouldn't rank this as high as "Walk the Line" in my list of biopics, it was definitely worth the price of admission to me and I would totally see it again if given the opportunity.

7 / 10

Excellent Portrayal!

I'm not a movie critic, just an ordinary person who loves sitting in a dark theater and letting the magic take over. I Saw The Light was pure magic. Tom Huddleston, whom I'd never heard of before, was perfect for the role of Hank Williams. He took me back in time and let me see the pain and suffering the icon faced daily. Hank's was a tortured soul and maybe that contributed to his greatness. Huddleston captured that and pulled back the curtain, letting us see inside the man. I think Huddleston did an excellent job with not only the songs (his voice was flawless) but with the exact mannerisms and nuances of Hank Williams. I thank him for doing such an awesome job and for a short time whisked me back so I could once again enjoy the icon's music. It was difficult to keep my feet still because I wanted to get up and dance. This was a great movie and I hope to see Tom Huddleston in other roles.

5 / 10

I've Lost My Heart it Seems

Greetings again from the darkness. Most Hollywood musical biopics follow a similar and predictable structure, which is why Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story was so easily able to parody the genre. Of course, the legendary singer/songwriter Hank Williams deserves more than predictable storytelling ? but unfortunately, that's exactly what he gets here.

Tom Hiddleston delivers a spot on physical impersonation of Hank ? right down to the slightly hunched over (due to Spina Bifida Occulta) posture and bouncy onstage waggle. Yes, the very British Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in The Avengers and Thor movies, has managed to capture the presence of one of the all-time great Country and Western icons. Mr. Hiddleston worked on the beloved songs with Rodney Crowell and delivers some very nice singing - so nice in fact that the singing is distracting and misleading. Hank Williams sang his songs in angst ? a tortured soul seemingly without choice in his need to share his art. No one could be expected to perform with that emotion, and the void is obvious.

As source material, director Marc Abraham (Flash of Genius, 2008) utilizes "Hank Williams: The Biography" co-written by George Merritt, Colin Escott, and William MacEwen. It may be the least creative title possible for a biography, and the movie correlates perfectly. We track Hank's early days as a struggling singer whose dream is to someday perform on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry, to his gas station marriage to Audrey May (Elizabeth Olsen), through his alcoholism, drug use, womanizing, superstardom, fall from grace, and ultimately tragic death at the age of 29.

Despite the nature of Williams' short life, the film only skims the surface and rarely digs too deeply. The steady stream of women/wives is difficult to track ? perhaps that's the point. Audrey is the only one who gets much screen time and Ms. Olsen plays her as an ambitious shrew who comes across as impossible to like and as unwilling to work at the relationship. A staggering number of Hank Williams songs are embedded as merely interludes separating scenes of misery for all involved ? especially Hank, who seems to find little joy in life.

We've all seen the destruction that fame often leads to, and when combined with Hank's painful back disorder and relentless alcoholism, it's little wonder his body simply surrendered at such an early age. The movie just seems a bit too high-gloss for such a tortured soul, and despite the best efforts of Tom Hiddleston, the film is not worthy of someone who left the musical legacy of Hank Williams.