The world of popular music is inundated with stories of musicians who lived fast and loose, died young, and left a legacy full of beloved hits and possibilities of what could have been. One such star was Country and Western musician Hank Williams, known for such classics as “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and ironically “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive”, one of his final hits before his young death at 29. In 2015, the tale of Hank Williams from happy marriage, successful career and eventual downfall was dramatically recreated in I Saw The Light.
Following the life of one Hank Williams, the hit country singer who at a young age, rose to fame, touched hearts loved, lost and tragically died in less than 30 years. This no-hold-barred biopic covers the highs, the lows, and everything in between. Starting from the singer’s initially happy marriage to his death, and how he became one of the most prolific voices in country & western history.
While there were some initial reservations about Hiddleston taking on the role he fought hard to get this role and fits it well, with all the charm and talent, you would expect from the man himself. Opposite him is Elizabeth Olsen, playing his manager and wife, Audrey, who is supposed to be not a great singer, but I liked her singing contributions in the film, and was unsure if I was supposed to. While the film mainly focuses on them, some other names from the time are depicted one noticeable example is Bradley Whitford who graces us with an almost unrecognisable performance as famed music publisher Fred Rose, among other names from the then-current music industry life both big and small.
Like many Biopics, it does not shy away from the darker aspect of the singer’s short and troubled life, his drinking, His relationship with young Billie Jean, with the dissolution of his marriage with his wife/manager. They take prominence in the 2-hour biopic, but this film would not be much without the music, and it is here where the film delivers. Hiddleston’s attempt at singing is impressive and reflect the feeling and vibe of the songs without being direct karaoke covers, doubly impressive considering Hiddleston’s from Westminster and not Alabama.
Probably well known for his ironic epitaph, and his peculiar demise, I Saw The Light covers a lot more of Hank William’s career, yet pretty much exactly what you expect from the star’s life. With a cast full of gifted stars who tell the story well, while managing to believable and talented enough to transcend the half-a-century gap between William’s career and today, I Saw The Light may help a whole new generation see and experience Hank Williams music, almost first-hand.
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