“I Saw The Light”: Thoughts on the Hank Williams biopic

I was born and raised in the south.  Part of what comes with that is growing up with country music, and when I was growing up even more so.  I was raised on listening to country music radio stations like 650AM WSM and the Grand Ole Opry.  One of its classic stars was Hank Williams Sr.  He is an iconic figure in the world of country music and was one of its biggest stars in the 1940s & 50s.  He led a tragic life that saw it end at age 29.  His music influenced countless artists and still is as impactful today.

I Saw The Light

I Saw The Light is a biopic that focuses on the singer’s life from the time of his marriage of his first wife Audrey until the end of his life.  The film shows the highest of the highs as he played the Grand Ole Opry and toured around the country.  It also shows the lowest of the lows with his bouts with alcoholism and drugs as well as his infidelity.  The film stars Tom Hiddleston as Hank and Elisabeth Olsen as Audrey.

I was blown away by the film.  Hiddleston does a tremendous job as Hank.  Not only the acting performance but also the musical performance.  The filmmakers didn’t use old recordings of Hank Williams but Tom himself sung the songs and sounded very much like ole Hank.  When he was on stage with the suit, hat and guitar singing, he looked and sounded like Hank Williams.  He captured what made Hank Williams such a lovable figure as well as a tragic one.  Elisabeth Olsen had a tremendous performance as well.  She was strong and vulnerable playing off of Hiddleston’s Hank.

There were several parts of the film that made me (and the rest of the audience watching) laugh because they were very much like real life.  Certain comments would be said that would totally fit what was going on or just were a part of life.

The title of the movie comes from one of his classic songs.  “I Saw The Light” was a gospel song that at the time it was recorded wasn’t much of a hit but after his death became one of the most well known gospel songs of all time.  Anyone that that grew up in a southern church will know that song.  I thought it was kind of fitting to see this film on Good Friday because of the reminder of Jesus and how because of Jesus I personally have seen the light.  And the ending of the film when the artists and the audience are singing “I Saw The Light” is so moving.

I was fortunate in that it opened in this area with it’s limited release (I think it opens nationwide next week).  I Saw The Light is one of the best films I have seen in a movie theater.  I definitely think this film should be nominated (and win) a lot of awards.  I highly recommend going to see this film when you can.

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3 thoughts on ““I Saw The Light”: Thoughts on the Hank Williams biopic

  1. Have you seen the “Your Cheatin’ Heart” from 1964? It’s a Hank biopic. I’ve been debating on watching this but sometimes films like this don’t do anything for me, like Walk the Line.

    • I think I did but it was a long time ago if I did. I liked Walk The Line. I don’t know if I would compare I Saw The Light to Walk the Line. I will say this one is honest about Hank’s dark side as well as his light side.

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