I Saw the Light Review
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Before there was the Man in Black, long before there were crossover sensations like Taylor Swift, there was country music legend Hank Williams—a man who was known for his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle before rock ‘n’ roll even existed. But audiences will get just the slightest glimpse of his wilder side in the biopic I Saw the Light.

I Saw the Light stars Tom Hiddleston as the renowned country singer and songwriter, who fought his way to stardom in the 1940s. The film follows Williams from his early career in Alabama to his Grand Ole Opry success, through his struggles with fame, alcoholism, chronic pain, and his rocky marriage to aspiring singer Audrey (Elizabeth Olsen). Yet, somehow, despite his demons and addictions, his troubled personal life, and his tragically brief musical career, he managed to become one of country music’s most well-known artists.

This musical bio offers glimpses of the country legend’s life—some key performances, some low moments, and plenty of crucial scenes with a plethora of different women. But these short snippets of scenes don’t really come together to tell a compelling story. In fact, it all feels rather generic: the rise to fame, that moment of triumph, and the usual problems that always seem to come with the fame and fortune. It’s all stuff that we’ve seen before. And though the film doesn’t really shy away from the artist’s flaws and failures, it merely hints at them. It’s clear that Williams got into fights, drank too much, and spent time with a lot of women. He was troubled and generally unreliable—and he was often caught in the middle of a power struggle between his wife and his mother. But the story isn’t as dramatic nor as dynamic as you’d expect. Instead, it’s surprisingly sleepy—little more than a boilerplate story about the evils of celebrity.

Somewhere in here, there’s an intriguing character—and Hiddleston manages to capture his charm, his showmanship, his music, and even his heartbreak. The flashy costumes and the big, gleaming grins always seem to be hiding a sadness that’s reflected in his eyes. But the story never really gives audiences the whole picture—or the opportunity to connect to the character.

For fans of classic country music, I Saw the Light offers a little bit of music and a glimpse inside the life of an icon. But if you’ve seen other musical biopics, you won’t find a whole lot of surprises here.

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