Title: I Saw The Light

Director: Marc Abraham

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olson, Bradley Whitford, David Krumholtz and Cherry Jones.

‘I Saw The Light’ is based on Colin Escott’s award-winning biography of the legendary 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 meteoric rise to fame and its ultimately tragic effect on his health and personal life.

British actor, Tom Hiddleston, is incredibly effective in projecting the soul of a man haunted by his own demons through his eyes, even more than through his singing; and he impressively provides his own vocals. Also Elizabeth Olsen provides her own vocals, but hers are meant to be mediocre – something that created friction between Mr and Mrs Williams, which the two actors portray very effectively. However the cast’s talent does not suffice to make this dull and sloppy movie a hit.

Marc Abraham fails in paying homage to one of the 20th century’s most seminal hillbilly singer-songwriters. Inertia rules in ‘I Saw The Light’ as the film charters the key moments in Williams’ rise to greatness and subsequent personal and professional failures, fuelled by his addictions until his premature death at 29.

The film lingers on the personal conflicts in the artist’s life, from his tempestuous relationship with his wife, to the disagreements with his band members. But it does not attempt to explore what drove Williams to create his haunted, electrifying music. Despite the fantastic cinematography by Oscar nominee Dante Spinotti, who truly enlightens the beauty of the ‘I Saw The Light,’ the audience is left into darkness as regards Hank Williams’ creative process.

Technical: B

Acting: B

Story: D

Overall: C+

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

I Saw The Light Movie Review
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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