I Saw the Light (2015)
September 17, 2019 6:44 PM - Subscribe

A music biopic recounting the life story of the "hillbilly Shakespeare," singer and songwriter Hank Williams, a Southern icon with a voice of pure searing pain...

...dramatized via the performance of English actor Tom Hiddleston, who was also allowed to do his own singing... for some goddamned reason.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total)
Look, I love Tom Hiddleston. Everybody loves Tom Hiddleston. But if you make a movie about Baryshnikov, you don't let some nice actor who has never danced before spend a summer brushing up then do all of his own dancing.

Hank III still lives and breathes and he sounds exactly like his grandfather. He should have done the singing. Hiddleston sings Hank like a karaoke contest runner up. He's fine, but it doesn't grab at your heart.

Even apart from the singing, Hiddleston works hard but feels miscast. He doesn't have that following the Devil on Saturday night, following the Lord on Sunday morning dichotomy that poor southern men of that generation often had. And honestly, I'm not sure he even understands what that even means.

I like Hiddleston enough that I can maybe maybe believe that a better script and director without the distraction of the pallid vocal imitation could have made me believe him here.

But in any case, this is not that film.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:57 PM on September 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hank Williams wrote extraordinary music. But considering how ordinary his life was ("Booze! Drugs! Marital strife! The stress of Fame! Dying young!") he might be better honored with a musical built around his songs than a biopic.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:01 PM on September 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I found this movie very meh. There just really wasn't much there. I do think there were some good moments but ultimately felt disappointed when it was over. I also began to really hate the Hank Williams character (the depiction of him, I mean) by the end which I don't think was anyone's intention. I don't really know much about Hank Williams as a man so I can't judge on the biographical accuracy and what might have been excluded or condensed to tell the story.
posted by acidnova at 7:58 PM on September 17, 2019

I worked on this, and alas, Hiddleston is no George Hamilton.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:59 AM on September 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh man, that George Hamilton movie. That's another approach to dealing with Hank's standard troubled star life story: make up a different life story and film that instead.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:06 AM on September 18, 2019

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