Hiddleston is Hank Williams “Lite” In Biopic

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I grant that lanky, slouching British actor Tom Hiddleston, in wide-brimmed hat and Nudie designed outfits, has a slight physical resemblance to tragic country music legend Hank Williams.

hank2But Williams’ music was not about how he looked but who he was.

And the new Williams biopic “I Saw The Light” never captures who that is.

Williams died in 1953 of heart problems and hard living at the age of 29 after an amazingly prolific six-year career.

He is a brick in the foundation of the country music firmament and genuinely one of the few people for whom the accolades icon and legend are justified.

Hiddleston, six years older than Williams when he died, is a British television actor who came to prominence as Loki in the comic book movie “Thor.”

His own vocals when performing Williams’ compositions like “Honky Tonkin’,” “Why don’t You Love Me Like You Used to Do?” and “Hey, Good Lookin’ are without the hurt that inspired them. And the songs appear out of thin air as he if made them up on the spot, like Donald Trump answering a question.

Not begrudging Hiddleston’s talent, it just lies elsewhere, maybe as the Thin White Duke in a Bowie biopic.

Similarly producer turned writer-director Marc Abraham’s lurching episodic and anecdotal screenplay is without insight into Williams’ artistry or deeper self. It is about little more than his tempestuous relationships with women, including tolerating the singing career of his out-of-tune wife played by Elizabeth Olsen, and unreliable relationships with band members, promoters and record labels.

When wondering what’s missing just look at the electrifying and dangerous Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line” or the mystifying multi-verse structure of the Dylan biopic “I’m Not There.”

By comparison “I Saw The Light” is all hat, no cattle.

**1/2 Two and one half stars

With Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Cherry Jones, Bradley Whitford, Maddie Hasson, Wrenn Schmidt.

Produced by Alan L. Gilbert, Marc Abraham, G. Marq Roswell, Brett Ratner.

Written and directed by Marc Abraham.

Rated R; language, sexuality, nudity. Approximate running time: 123 minutes.

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