"Troubled Music Icon"
What You Need To Know:
British actor Tom Hiddleston plays Hank Williams in I SAW THE LIGHT. He sings Hank’s songs. Though his voice doesn’t have quite the same country twang as Hank, he does a good job otherwise. The real problem is the movie’s story structure, which has many lows but few highs. I SAW THE LIGHT also has plenty of foul language, brief nudity and other immoral content. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
(Pa, B, CC, V, S, NN, AA, DD, MM) Mixed pagan worldview with some immoral elements, some moral elements and brief but overt Christian elements, including the Gospel song by Hank Williams “I Saw the Light” is sung to celebrate a newborn baby in a family and at the end; about 57 obscenities (three “f” words), one Jesus profanity and two light profanities; light violence; implied adultery and marital sex; upper female nudity in one scene; alcohol use and abuse; smoking and use of prescription painkillers to relieve physical pain; and, jealousy and dysfunctional personal and family relationships.
I SAW THE LIGHT is a biographical drama of the singing career and personal life of 20th Century country music sensation Hank Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “I Saw the Light,” who died young at 29 in 1953 due to alcohol and prescription drug abuse that exacerbated a couple congenital physical problems. Despite some good performances and the magic of Hank’s wonderful country songs, I SAW THE LIGHT would be more entertaining if it were structured better and is ultimately rather depressing, with plenty of foul language and substance abuse.
The movie opens in 1953 after news of Hank’s death and flashes back to 1944 with Hank playing his hit “Honky Tonkin’” and getting married to his girlfriend at the time, Audrey Sheppard. The story shows how Fred Rose, the president of country star Roy Acuff’s record label, cutting a record with Hank, then Hank singing with MGM Records in 1947. In 1948, Hank joins “The Louisiana Hayride,” a popular weekend radio show, but his touring and alcoholism begin to put a strain on his marriage, despite the birth of his son, Hank, Jr. in 1949. By this time, Hank’s songs have become very popular, and he begins to perform on the “Grand Ol’ Opry,” the biggest country radio show in America.
Sadly, Hank was born with spina bifida, a spinal disease, and a hunting accident exacerbates his back problems. The alcohol and the prescription drugs to dull the pain begin to take their toll and interfere even more with his career, but Hank continues to churn out hit after hit.
Actor Tom Hiddleston (Loki in the Marvel superhero movies) plays Hank Williams in I SAW THE LIGHT. He sings Hank’s songs in the movie. Though his voice doesn’t have quite the same country twang as Hank, he does a good job otherwise. The real problem with the movie is its downer tone. There’s not enough joy as Hank’s career starts to take off. Except for a scene where Hank and his first wife, Audrey, sing Hank’s Gospel song “I Saw the Light” to their newborn baby, there’s not much happiness in Hank’s personal life either. Ultimately, the movie’s story structure lacks the kind of plot buildup that such a movie needs, the kind of buildup that provided in such classics as THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY and COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER. Its worldview is mixed.
I SAW THE LIGHT also has plenty of foul language, brief nudity and other immoral behavior or elements. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.