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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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Hank Williams
... Audrey Williams
... Fred Rose
... Lillie Williams
... Billie Jean Jones
... Bobbie Jett
... James Dolan
... Dore Schary
Wesley Robert Langlois ... Don Helms - Steel
... Sammy Pruett - Guitar
... Jerry Rivers - Fiddle
Michael Rinne ... Lum York - Bass
... Jim Denny
... Gas Station Attendant (as Steven Todd Barnett)
... 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

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The story of Hank Williams.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

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Release Date:

1 April 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Hank Williams Project  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,471, 27 March 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,646,468, 5 June 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In preparation for the lead role, Tom Hiddleston moved into veteran country singer Rodney Crowell's Nashville home to undergo a crash course in singing and guitar playing country style. As a 2-year-old perched on his father's shoulder, Crowell had seen Hank Williams perform live and had thereafter evolved into a Williams aficionado and keeper of the flame. See more »

Goofs

When Hank reads a pulp magazine story to Lycrecia, the scene is happening in 1947, but the issue he is holding was published in November 1952. See more »

Quotes

Hank Williams: You know what I don't like is people pretending one thing and they got something else on their mind. You do what I do, you get where I am, you see plenty of that. People thinking they'll make a nice pie with a slice of me.
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Soundtracks

(Where Are You) Now That I Need You
Written by Frank Loesser
Performed by Doris Day with The Mellomen
With permission from Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

 
I've Lost My Heart it Seems
31 March 2016 | by See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Most Hollywood musical biopics follow a similar and predictable structure, which is why Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story was so easily able to parody the genre. Of course, the legendary singer/songwriter Hank Williams deserves more than predictable storytelling … but unfortunately, that's exactly what he gets here.

Tom Hiddleston delivers a spot on physical impersonation of Hank – right down to the slightly hunched over (due to Spina Bifida Occulta) posture and bouncy onstage waggle. Yes, the very British Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in The Avengers and Thor movies, has managed to capture the presence of one of the all-time great Country and Western icons. Mr. Hiddleston worked on the beloved songs with Rodney Crowell and delivers some very nice singing - so nice in fact that the singing is distracting and misleading. Hank Williams sang his songs in angst … a tortured soul seemingly without choice in his need to share his art. No one could be expected to perform with that emotion, and the void is obvious.

As source material, director Marc Abraham (Flash of Genius, 2008) utilizes "Hank Williams: The Biography" co-written by George Merritt, Colin Escott, and William MacEwen. It may be the least creative title possible for a biography, and the movie correlates perfectly. We track Hank's early days as a struggling singer whose dream is to someday perform on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry, to his gas station marriage to Audrey May (Elizabeth Olsen), through his alcoholism, drug use, womanizing, superstardom, fall from grace, and ultimately tragic death at the age of 29.

Despite the nature of Williams' short life, the film only skims the surface and rarely digs too deeply. The steady stream of women/wives is difficult to track … perhaps that's the point. Audrey is the only one who gets much screen time and Ms. Olsen plays her as an ambitious shrew who comes across as impossible to like and as unwilling to work at the relationship. A staggering number of Hank Williams songs are embedded as merely interludes separating scenes of misery for all involved … especially Hank, who seems to find little joy in life.

We've all seen the destruction that fame often leads to, and when combined with Hank's painful back disorder and relentless alcoholism, it's little wonder his body simply surrendered at such an early age. The movie just seems a bit too high-gloss for such a tortured soul, and despite the best efforts of Tom Hiddleston, the film is not worthy of someone who left the musical legacy of Hank Williams.


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