Review of "I Saw the Light (DVD)"

published 01/03/2017 | sellerleygirl
Member since : 15/02/2015
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Pro Tom Hiddleston
Cons Story a little slow
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Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"I Saw the Light but would have liked to have seen more"

I Saw the Light (DVD)

I Saw the Light (DVD)

:-• I Saw the Light-•-:

:-• Film Only Review -•-:

We watched this film on Sky Cinema and so consequently this is a film only review. I did however, check with DVD Talk, to see if there are any extras on the DVD, this is what it said – “includes two featurettes, Illuminating A Legend: Inside I Saw the Light” and “Talking Hank,” which finds Hiddleston and musical director Rodney Crowell sitting down with Peter Cooper from The Country Music Hall of Fame to discuss Hank Williams, his music and how Tom prepared to portray the musical visionary. Also included are acoustic performances of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Move It on Over,” and “Long Gone Lonesome Blues.”

:-• Tagline -•-:

The story of 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.”

Hank Williams
:-• Genre -•-:

• Biography
• Drama
• Music
• Romance

:-• Film-•-:

'I Saw the Light' is a 2015 American biographical drama film that was released on March 25, 2016. The film is based on the book 'Hank Williams: The Biography' by Colin Escott, George Merritt, and Bill MacEwen. It is a biographical dramatization of country and blues singer-songwriter Hank Williams, his life and rise to fame as one of country music's most popular and influential artists.
Film Details

Directed by Marc Abraham
Produced by Marc Abraham, Aaron L. Gilbert, Brett Ratner and Gilbert Roswell
Written by Marc Abraham
Based on Hank Williams: The Biography by Colin Escott, George Merritt and Bill MacEwen
Music by Aaron Zigman
Cinematography Dante Spinotti
Edited by Alan Heim
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date March 25, 2016
Running time 123 minutes
Country United States
Language English

:-• The Story -•-:

"I Saw the Light" tells the story of Hank Williams (played by Tom Hiddleston), the popular but also severely troubled country music superstar. The film is set during the period from December 15, 1944 until January 1, 1953 and begins with his rushed marriage to Audrey (played by Elizabeth Olsen), it goes on to recount the pain and alcoholism that defined his personal life until his tragic, untimely death at the age of 29.

:-• Cast -•-:


Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams
Elizabeth Olsen as Audrey Sheppard Williams
Cherry Jones as Lillie Skipper Williams
Bradley Whitford as Fred Rose
Maddie Hasson as Billie Jean
David Krumholtz as James Dolan
Josh Pais as Dore Schary
James DuMont as WB Nolan
Casey Bond as Jerry Rivers
Michael Rinne as Lum York
Joshua Brady as Sammy Pruett
Wes Langlois as Don Helms
Von Lewis as Ray Price
Fred Parker Jr.
Rob Boltin as Frank Walker

:-• My Opinion -•-:

My husband chose this film from the new releases on Sky Cinema; I wasn’t particularly excited about watching it as I am not, and never have been, a fan of country music.
In 1963 I received my first record player, a little portable Dansette; my first records were ‘Love Me Do’ which I bought before I even had a record player and some records passed on to me from a cousin which included "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" by Hank Williams. This is about all I knew about Hank Williams before I watched this film.
In my mind, Hank Williams was an old man who sung boring country and western music – I had no idea that he’d been a ‘heart throb’ and had composed and released over thirty singles during his six-year career; including seven number ones, or that he had died so young.
The only image in my mind of Hank Williams is of a man in a cowboy hat, so I cannot say how much like the singer Tom Hiddleston was, but I thought that he was fantastic in the role – whether he resembled him or not.
At the age of 35, British Hiddleston is playing an Alabama-born music icon who died, in 1953 at the age of 29, from heart failure brought on by alcohol and prescription drugs. I have read some dreadful reviews of Hiddleston’s performance in this film, but I honestly cannot see why.
It seems that Hiddleston went to tremendous lengths to play the part; to get the ultra-skinny look he ran ten miles and cycled 15 miles every day, he moved into a veteran country singer’s Nashville home to undergo a crash course in singing and guitar playing country style and he performed all his own vocals. During the concert sequences, he sings to his own pre-recorded tracks, but on the numbers "I Saw the Light" and "Your Cheatin' Heart" he sings live on camera, in a voice that sounded very much like any Hank William’s record I had heard – even managing his trademark yodel, and his American accent was spot on.
Hiddleston is not on his own at performing well in this film; Elizabeth Olsen as Williams’ first wife, Audrey, looks natural and relaxed, again doing her own singing, as the headstrong, ambitious wife who wants to share the stage with her husband, but who’s voice is not quite up to the standard. Like Hiddleston, Olsen also does a fine job of the Southern twang accent.
The film is mainly about Hank Williams' success and influence as a musician, and part of that story is told through ’interview clips’ with record producer Fred Rose – these are actually done (in black and white) by actor Bradley Whitford. It is made very clear just how his popularity and lifestyle improves, and we do hear a few of Williams' most popular songs. However, going on all the time in the background, is his hard-won relationship (both good and bad) with the Grand Ole Opry, his chronic back pain, drug abuse, alcoholism and womanizing – all of which stopped him from having a happy life and progressing further in his musical career. Hank's problems were also constantly aggravated by his condemnatory and meddlesome mother and one-time manager, Lilli (played by Cherry Jones)

For me, it did take some getting used to as I do find these films set in the Deep South to be very difficult to understand and the drawling speech seemed to add to the slow pace of the film.
So, while there was some excellent acting and brilliant singing the film felt let down by the S L O W story. I would have preferred to see William’s life story starting earlier and learning a little more about his character; I was left, after watching this film, knowing little more about the man than I did before, in fact I turned to t’internet to read up more about him – about aspects of his life that I would have expected a bio-pic to tell me. I found it strange that his deep Christian faith which led him to write the film's title song ‘I Saw the Light’ wasn’t covered at all, nor was any light shed on the inspiration for his music, which, in my opinion, should have been the film's main purpose.

However, I DID somewhat enjoy the film, even if it was at times rather like the curate’s egg – bad in parts!!
:-• Soundtrack-•-:

• Cold Cold Heart
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
• Even Though You Let Me Go
Performed by Elizabeth Olsen
• I Can't Get You Off of My Mind
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
• Honky Tonkin'
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
• Blues Come Around
Performed by Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, and The Saddle Spring Boys
• Pan American
Performed by Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, and The Saddle Spring Boys g
• Lovesick Blues
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
• Santa Baby
Performed by Eartha Kitt
• Hey Good Lookin'
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
• Why Don't You Love Me
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
• Your Cheatin; Heart
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys
• I Saw the Light
Performed by Rodney Crowell, Cory Chisel, Tanya Hancheroff, and Chris Scruggs
• I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Performed by Tom Hiddleston, Rodney Crowell, and The Saddle Spring Boys
• Jambalaya
Performed by Tom Hiddleston and The Saddle Spring Boys

:-• Ratings -•-:

• Metacritic: 47% based on 35 critics
• Rotten Tomatoes:21% from 122 rates
• IMDb: 5.710 from 13,654 votes
:-• Critics -•-:

• New York Times: "I Saw the Light turns the Hank Williams story into an old-fashioned, tinted postcard that’s as lifeless as it is pretty"

• Commonsense Media: "This biopic about country legend Hank Williams is pretty much the same as any other biopic from the last 20 years, with a strong central performance, a surface-level story, and a series of clichés."

• Financial Times: "British actor Tom Hiddleston brings to life a conflicted and contradictory man"

• The Guardian: "The British actor does a fine, intelligent turn as the troubled singer Hank Williams, but this baggy biopic never really finds its shape"

:-• How to Watch -•-:

‘I Saw the Light’ is currently available free to subscribers on Sky Cinema in the new releases and is also available on Netflix.
As of 1/32/17 the one disc DVD of ‘I Saw the Light’ can be purchased from Amazon new from £3.73, used from £3.17 or instantly for £9.99 with Amazon Instant Video
Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK and are if you have a Prime account, if neither of these apply add £1.26 for postage
Amazon are currently offering £1.00 credit to spend on movies or TV on Amazon Video when you purchase a DVD or Blu-ray offered by A maximum of 1 credit per customer applies.
:-• DVD Details -•-:

Format: Subtitled, PAL
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Dubbed: French, Italian
Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
Audio Description: English
Region: Region 2
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.40:1
Number of discs: 1
Classification: 15
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: 12 Sept. 2016
Run Time: 124 minutes

:-• In Conclusion -•-:

Despite there being some problems with the film, mainly the script; I still enjoyed this film and was glad that I watched it.
At least I know a little more about the man who sang “Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo” on one of my first records.
The film is a must for any fans of Hank Williams or Tom Hiddleston, and is worth watching for the latter’s acting and singing skills!

Film pictures from Google

Thanks for reading, I hope that you have found this review useful
:-• © Sellerleygirl March 2017 -•-:

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Comments on this review

  • eve6kicksass published 13/03/2017
    E review, I will be definitely checking this one out!
  • euphie published 04/03/2017
    e :o)
  • 2mennycds published 03/03/2017
    Excellent review!
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Product Information : I Saw the Light (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Director(s): Marc Abraham

Actor(s): Tom Hiddleston, Bradley Whitford, Elizabeth Olsen, David Krumholtz, Cherry Jones

Sub Genre: Musicals & Music Films

DVD Region: DVD

Production Year: 2015

EAN: 5035822582835

Classification: 15 years and over


Listed on Ciao since: 27/02/2017