Tammy Faye Bakker, maybe that name means something to you, maybe it doesn’t, what you will know though is that Jessica Chastain becomes Tammy Faye Bakker and that alone is enough to get you to see The Eyes of Tammy Faye. The televangelist was a household name in the 80s, with her meteoric rise, tragic fall, and redemption throughout the later years of her life. The performances from the cast and the production values are the reasons to take in this picture, even if the story lacks any real energy.
The movie focuses on Tammy Faye played by the incomparable Jessica Chastain and her husband Jim Bakker played by Andrew Garfield. While they were Christians, Tammy Faye usually butted heads with others such as Jerry Falwell played by Vincent D’Onofrio, as she stood up for feminist rights and LGBTQ rights, which goes against Christian values. She was an outspoken, voice heard woman, who did not take anything from anyone.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a fierce, powerful movie, all because of Jessica Chastain. Not since Daniel-Day Lewis have we seen someone embody a character or persona so well. Everything about the archival footage that was shown of Tammy Faye in comparison to Chastain’s performance almost evokes you to take a double take, her look, her voice, her charisma is undeniably a transformation and one that will be talked about for the ages. Andrew Garfield also shines in his role playing second fiddle to his much more outspoken, not afraid to step outside of the box wife who dominates everything she touches. As well Jessica Chastain steals every single scene she is in, her performance is a career highlight.
The downfall of The Eyes of Tammy Faye is the script unfortunately. There is no energy or passion behind it, it feels like it’s just hitting points in the Bakker’s lives, which isn’t entirely a downside as things need to be addressed. However, with a flat script the performances must outdo themselves, and thankfully they do; but if there was a tighter script that made things feel more cinematic and less of a play by play, the movie would be stronger.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is absolutely worth a watch, wherever you’re comfortable seeing it, for the performances alone. It is a rare sight that audiences get to have seeing an actor engulf a character and performance so flawlessly. The Eyes of Tammy Faye will be talked about as a character study for a long time while bringing to light the importance of Tammy Faye for those who are unaware of what she did and who she was.