I liked The Eyes of Tammy Faye, but I loved the dynamic and on-screen chemistry between actors Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield. As infamous televangelists Tammy Faye Bakker and Jim Bakker, Chastain and Garfield are excellent and shine through their make-up and prosthetics with believable performances and vibrant personalities. We’re constantly having to remind ourselves that we’re watching a contemporary film; not the 2000-era documentary of the same name that serves as source material.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye follows a typical biopic formula, which also includes a detrimental streamlined narrative, but the movie gets away with it because it’s very entertaining during its comedic bits and supremely enthralling when a wedge is driven between the couple. The movie, expectedly, has a running theme of faith, but the film proposes an interesting arc for both Tammy Faye and Jim – faith can bring people together until it drives them apart.
While the film does speed through earlier memories to root itself in conflicts faced by the Bakkers, director Michael Showalter (The Big Sick, The Lovebirds) does a good job capturing the unwavering energy and passion Tammy Faye and Jim had for their faith and for their relationship; making this primary relationship tough to watch when they encounter hurdles of fraud and infidelity, as well as Tammy Faye’s turn to substance abuse as a means to cope through her personal challenges.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye may appear to be “just another biopic”, but the movie gives its viewers so much to enjoy and reflect on.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie