I Saw the Light

Mar 31, 2016

Hiddleston does Hank admirably-- the movie not so much.

I Saw the Light

Image courtesy of IMDb.

Grade: C+

Director: Marc Abraham

Screenplay: Abraham

Cast: Tom Hiddleston (War Horse), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene

Rating: R

Runtime: 2 hr. 3 min.

by John DeSando

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” or “Your Cheatin’ Heart” might have been better titles for the Hank Williams biopic, “I Saw the Light.” The story written and directed by Marc Abraham has too much emphasis on his lonely, cheating persona that led to divorce and broken hearts  along the arc of this film’s 1944 to 1953, when he died of too much drugs and alcohol. After seeing Amy, about Amy Winehouse, I’m waiting currently for a softer biography, say of Perry Como.

Anyway, Tom Hiddleston’s turn as Williams is hypnotically spot on from tics and Southern drawl to hats and all the charm in between. Hiddleston is a good singer who seems to have captured Williams in a masterful interpretation of a manic depressive genius. That’s my major concern with the story: I want more of the music, its creation and its challenges, and much less of the personal and domestic warfare, led by his wife, Audrey (Elizabeth Olsen).

Olsen’s Southern accent is impressively accurate without being too twangy although her singing is not up to Huddleston’s level of smoothness. Audrey was apparently a strong woman who interjected herself into the studio as well as the home.  Although she isn’t as memorable as June Carter Cash, she is a force in Williams’ life. At a point I was sympathetic to her and her children, who were small players in Williams’ life.

I guess if you really want to know Hank Williams, listen to his songs. If you want to see what Loki can do outside of science fiction, see him play Hank Williams in I Saw the Light.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at