Much is expected of Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Hank Williams in I Saw The Light. When it was originally announced that the Brit was taking on the role of such a beloved musical icon there were even murmurs that he could be in line for an Oscar push. Those have died down in recent months, and the fact that I Saw The Light isn't being released until March 25, 2016 means he’s completely out of the running now anyway. But what about the film itself? Is it going to be a tender examination of the first real country star? Or a sickly sentimental biopic? You can try and decide for yourself now that the first trailer has been released.
The above trailer suggests to me that I Saw The Light is currently leaning towards the latter. Obviously, because of his work as Loki for Marvel, the entire world adores Tom Hiddleston and the opportunity to see him flexing his acting muscles in a dramatic role that has the potential to resonate with millions is wonderful to see. It’s just unfortunate that I Saw The Light appears to fall into the same cinematic trappings that have led to dozens of underwhelming musical biopics in recent years. In fact, the entire trailer seems to show us exactly how the film will proceed.
At the start we see Hiddleston’s Hank Williams having a glorious time up on stage, revelling in the fact that audiences adore his music. As you expect, he falls in love with Elizabeth Olsen’s Audrey Sheppard, who he soon marries. But then the usual problems befall the singer. Soon enough fame begins to change Williams and his eye starts to wander, while he also becomes an alcoholic and even quarrels and has physical altercations with his fans.
Maybe this is exactly how things transpired in the life of Hank Williams, but having seen it up on screen so many times before in the likes of Ray, Walk The Line, and Notorious, to name a few, it’s hard to get overly excited about yet another musical biopic that follows this familiar trajectory.
While the plot seems underwhelming, let’s hope that at least it gives a platform for its actors to excel. Tom Hiddleston is now widely recognised for his performances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Loki, but it shouldn’t be forgotten how compelling a screen presence he can be. The same can also be said for Elizabeth Olsen, who herself recently made her debut as Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, a role she will reprise in Captain America: Civil War.
We’ll get to see if they can elevate I Saw The Light above standard biopic fare when the film is released on March 25, 2016.