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I Saw the Light (2015)

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The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

Director:

Marc Abraham

Writers:

Marc Abraham, Colin Escott (book) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hiddleston ... Hank Williams
Elizabeth Olsen ... Audrey Williams
Bradley Whitford ... Fred Rose
Cherry Jones ... Lillie Williams
Maddie Hasson ... Billie Jean Jones
Wrenn Schmidt ... Bobbie Jett
David Krumholtz ... James Dolan
Josh Pais ... Dore Schary
Wesley Robert Langlois Wesley Robert Langlois ... Don Helms - Steel
Joshua Brady ... Sammy Pruett - Guitar
Casey Bond ... Jerry Rivers - Fiddle
Michael Rinne Michael Rinne ... Lum York - Bass
Will Beinbrink ... Jim Denny
Todd Barnett ... Gas Station Attendant (as Steven Todd Barnett)
Richard Jackson ... Boyette
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Storyline

The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of Hank Williams.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 April 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Hank Williams Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Shreveport, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,471, 27 March 2016

Gross USA:

$1,646,788

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,767,963
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene of Williams walking out of the hotel and placing his glass on the roof of the car was filmed in Shreveport's The Remington Suites Hotel on Travis Street, just before midnight. It was unseasonably cold that night and many of the antique cars had trouble starting and running. See more »

Goofs

Sections of the balcony at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee were removed in 1993 after a major renovation to the facility. Prior to 1993, the balcony extended to the sides of the main stage. The early 1950s scenes at the Ryman in this film show the post-1993 layout of the facility. See more »

Quotes

Hank Williams: Everyone has a little darkness in them. They may not like it. They don't know about it, but it's there. And I'm talking about things like anger, misery, sorrow, shame. And they hear it. I show it to them. And they don't have to take it home.
See more »

Connections

References Small Town Girl (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Don't You Love Me
Written by Hank Williams
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
With permission from Sony/ATV Music Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A waste of Hiddleston's performance
6 December 2016 | by eddie_bagginsSee all my reviews

Frustrating. That is how I would describe this unfocused and sadly unengaging biopic of legendary country singer Hank Williams, the man responsible for such memorable ditties as What You Got Cooking and Cold Cold Heart.

At one time or another spoken about as being a likely contender at the Academy Awards, Marc Abraham's film that features an outstanding and deservedly acknowledged performance from British superstar Tom Hiddleston, I Saw the Light became a true non-event upon release around the world, making a paltry $1.6 million at the worldwide box office and a fate even worse here in Australia where it has been dumped straight onto home release without even the slightest bit of fanfare around, which is such a shame considering the material and tools at Abraham's disposal.

William's story from that centres on an incredible rise to fame from a relatively sad upbringing is completely mishandled by Abraham with the film rarely, if ever, offering up much lead in or background to Williams bar an impressive meltdown at a music festival where Williams addresses the crowd under extreme duress. It's nigh on infuriating that we're never really allowed inside this talented performers mindset or history and makes the film feel as though it's at arm's length away at all times.

This feeling of disconnect can be laid almost entirely to blame on Abraham as Hiddleston who has still perhaps been at his best as Loki in The Avengers before this film rather than the over praised Only Lovers Left Alive, The Deep Blue Sea and the overrated BBC series The Night Manager makes this role his own from the word go.

As the camera slowly lingers in towards Hiddleston performing an impressive instrument free rendition (Hiddleston performs all his own songs here as well as playing the guitar) of hit William's song Cold Cold Heart to an intently concentrating audience, you forget that you're watching the British actor and feel as though you're instead witnessing the complete re-embodying of Williams. It's a turn that deserves a much better movie even if he gets solid support from Elizabeth Olsen as William's long suffering love Audrey.

I Saw the Light is a real missed opportunity to not only tell the story of Williams but give Hiddleston the film his performance deserved and while the die-hard fans of Williams may find this film better than us Williams outsiders, it would be very hard to find many other reasons to watch this soulless film other than to see Hiddleston deliver the acting turn of his career so far.

2 electric garage door buttons out of 5


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