"Chastain and Garfield are at their best as Faye and Bakker"
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (2021)
As a noted true crime junkie, I was surprised I never even heard of Tammy Faye. Recently, as well, I have found myself fascinated with religious leaders and their rise to fame and then their downfall. Somehow Tammy Faye slipped through the cracks for me, I will ashamedly admit, so I went into this story with basically no background on the real life characters or story this films revolves around.
The director, Michael Showalter, missed a lot of opportunities here where he had so many options and more than capable actors, Oscar nominated Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield as Tammy Faye and JIm Bakker. I see how Showalter wanted to focus on Tammy Faye only and not fully delve into her terrible husband and his issues. He solely kept the story within the lines of it being Tammy Faye’s. If you can suspend the craving to dive into the grotesque and evil wrongdoings from Jim Bakker and the rest of the televangelists and focus your energy on the story of the unapologetic Tammy Faye, you will be satisfied.
The definitive rise and fall of Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker, the televangelists of all televangelists. Faye and Bakker meet in college and it is basically love at first sight. The couple gets married almost immediately and then drop out of college (because they are forced to) and begin traveling to preach in different churches. Faye uses her bubbly personality to channel her inner child, producing a puppet show based on religion for children in the churches. This really takes off with success, and before you know it, she and JIm are “in” with all the famous televangelists. Jim Bakker basically created the still-going famous “The 700 Club” and then he and Tammy helped build an empire centered around televangelism. Quickly, though, and to no surprise Tammy’s natural and genuine accepting nature of all people gets her in trouble, rocking the boat with her peers. Bakker and Faye spiral down and out of control after many questionable decisions, including but not limited to fraud and rape. Is Tammy Faye as unknowing and innocent as she seems?
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Chastain and Garfield are at their best as Faye and Bakker, giving the term 'character acting' a textbook example. Both actors become their characters through make-up and design, but their delivery of lines and body language shows they truly studied these people so they could give an accurate portrayal, you wont be able to look away.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
This full popcorn rating goes to the make-up crew alone. The transformation Chastain went under to become Tammy Faye morphed her into character and made Chastain unrecognizable. The make-up crew built her to become Tammy Faye; it’s so good it’s almost unbelievable.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Is there anything Jessica Chastain can’t do? That woman has some pipes! She not only looked identical to real-life Tammy Faye, she was able to sound like her, too! From the silly puppet voices to the singing Chastain will have you completely enthralled with her performance.
Chastain ultimately held this film together and she is the reason I bumped my star rating from a 3.5 to a 4. I think overall there was a lot to be desired, but Chastain brought it so thoroughly and without fear that I could not take my eyes off her. While the film is somewhat forgettable, it is entertaining and easy to watch, plus, I will never be able to erase the embodiment Chastain brought to the role of Tammy Faye.
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE is NOW PLAYING in [LIMITED] Cinemas