The new movie, I SAW THE LIGHT is based on the life of country music legend, Hank Williams. It's an uneven film about the life of the great singer/songwriter from the 1940's to the early 50's, but the convincing performance of English actor Tom Hiddleston as Williams makes the movie worth seeing. He even does all the singing himself.
Hank (singing): She changed the lock on our front door, and my key don't fit no more, so get it on over, scoot it on over.
The movie shows us that many of Hank William's songs were inspired by the tumultuous relationship he had with his first wife, Audrey played by Elizabeth Olsen.
Audrey: Do you love me, honey?
Hank: Most of the time I do.
The film spends way too much time on their impossible relationship and not enough on the music created by this song writer who inspired many who came later like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
Hank's mother hates Audrey, because wants to sing with Hank even though she doesn't have much talent.
Mother: That woman hasn't gotten a clue who the star is around here.
Hank: You know why you and Audrey don't get along. …One of you afraid the other is gonna beat her to my pocket when I get drunk.
Mother: That's a hurtful thing to say, son.
Hank Williams died at the age of 29 in 1953. He had heart disease made worse my alcoholism and addiction to the pain pills he took for constant back pain.
Hiddleston does a great job of showing Hank's struggle to meet all the demands of writing, touring, marriage and fatherhood.
And even though the movie consists of scattered events and often feels muddled, it also has some really strong scenes like the one where Hank gives a rare interview.
Hank: Everybody has a little darkness in them. I'm talkin' about things like anger, sorrow, shame. I show it to 'em and they hear it and they don't have to take it home.
The bottom line is that if you're at all interested in learning more about who Hank Williams was, I SAW THE LIGHT will whet your appetite. I just wish it had a coherent plot that showed us more about how this man from Alabama became such a great song writer and performer.