I Saw the Light

If ever you doubt the versatility of British actor Tom Hiddleston ("Thor") take a gander at this little gem. In it, he plays American Country-Western music superstar, the late Hank Williams AND he does his own singing. When the movie starts, he quietly sings Williams' classic, "Cold, Cold Heart" a cappella: no echo chamber, no backup instruments or anything to hide behind. Raw courage AND talent!

Written and directed by Marc Abraham based on Colin Escott's book, "Hank Williams: The Biography," I only wish HIS work had been on par with the actor's. The movie lags in spots and dwells on dreary, uninteresting conversations. Williams' spina bifida (an imperfect closure of the spinal chord), caused chronic pain which, in my opinion, resulted in self-medication: alcohol, sex and drugs (this is R-rated). We see him in rehab one time, but it doesn't last very long.

We watch his life slowly unravel after he achieves his life-long dream: to be accepted on the Grand Ole Opry. The look on his face when applause washes over him is exalted!

Part of the cast:
  • Tom Hiddleston ("The Avengers") Hiddleston's Hank Williams sings "Lovesick Blues," "I Saw the Light," "Walking the Floor," "Move it on Over," "Hey, Good Lookin'," "Why Don'cha Love Me Like You Used to Do?" "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and "Your Cheatin' Heart." And he made it look easy.
  • Elizabeth Olsen ("Avengers: Age of Ultron") is his wife Audrey, source of his heartburn and his muse for many songs, for good or ill. She too, wants to be a singer, but Oh my ears, that VOICE!
  • Bradley Whitford ("Saving Mr. Banks") is Williams' manager Fred Rose, who has to witness the rise and fall of a tragic icon.
  • Cherry Jones ("Whiskey Tango Foxtrot") Lillie Williams is sure there is NO woman good enough for her boy Hank!
Of course we are treated to a list of familiar names and places, but none of them really registered with me because they were given short shrift in the script. Williams' woman problems took center stage, while personally, I would have been happy to hear more familiar songs. Hank Williams, after all, delivered 36 hits and sold 11 million records before his untimely death in 1953 at age 29.
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Here is a sample:
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