Most people are familiar with country music icon Hank Williams Jr., but the story of his famous father is one that is all, but forgotten. The pioneer singer had 30 top ten country singles with eight of them going number one. The new biopic I Saw the Light starring Tom Hiddleston of Loki fame focuses on the singer’s life starting out as a Country Radio star in post WWII Alabama to a headliner for the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
I Saw the Light can’t seem to get into any rhythm with the story and never gets settled into one theme in the singer’s life to focus on. Director Marc Abraham acts if everyone knows the late singer’s background, which is not the case. None of the characters are fleshed out and the audience is left with your generic biopic characters like the jealous and neglected first wife played Elizabeth Olsen and Hank’s over protective mom played by Cherry Jones. When you don’t understand players motives involved, it’s hard to care about them. Plus, Hank isn’t the easiest guy to warm up to with his cheating and drinking ways.
Even though Hiddleston is given nothing to work with in terms of a script, he’s the one bright spot in I Saw the Light. Hiddleston spends most of his scenes drinking in or around a bed, but the Thor actor manages to breathe some life into the music legend. Hiddleston performance is the only thing that will keep the audience awake during the slow-moving pace. The singer’s personal demons are never fully explored in I Saw the Light, which is unfortunate, because those personal issues always makes for entertaining content in musician biographies.
When you’re making a musical biopic, the songs need to be the star as well. In I Saw the Light, the music is basically on mute. Williams had an impressive, if short stretch of fame, but you would never know it from watching this film. I Saw the Light does a poor job of showing the singers wild life even with an R rating. There’s also not much of a redemption story, which you need when it comes to true Hollywood stories. In the end of I Saw the Light, you’re left feeling little remorse for a guy who squandered his talent at the end of the day.
Overall, I give I Saw the Light 2 out of 4 stars.