Watch The Eyes of Tammy Faye
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a biographical film from 2021 that chronicles the life of Tammy Faye Bakker, a televangelist who rose to fame in the 1980s alongside her husband Jim Bakker. The movie stars Jessica Chastain in the titular role as Tammy Faye, Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker, and Cherry Jones as Tammy Faye's mother, Rachel. At the start of the film, we see Tammy Faye as a young girl in rural Minnesota, attending church with her family and dreaming of becoming a singer. She meets Jim Bakker when he comes to town to preach, and the two fall in love and eventually get married. Together, they start their own televangelist network, PTL (short for "Praise the Lord"), which becomes a massive success and makes them both very rich.
However, as their empire grows, cracks start to appear in their marriage and in their reputation. Jim is accused of embezzlement and sexual misconduct, and Tammy Faye becomes the target of public derision for her heavy makeup and emotional outbursts. Despite these setbacks, Tammy Faye remains devoted to her faith and her husband, continuing to preach and sing on television even as their lives spiral out of control.
One of the film's main themes is the tension between appearance and reality. Tammy Faye is often mocked for her "clown-like" makeup and her emotional vulnerability, but the movie portrays her as genuinely kind-hearted and well-intentioned. Similarly, Jim Bakker is initially presented as a charismatic and devout leader, but as the story unfolds, we see the darker sides of his personality and his business practices.
Another important theme is the power of forgiveness. Tammy Faye is a deeply religious woman who believes in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, and this belief often puts her at odds with those who seek to punish her or her husband for their misdeeds. The movie portrays her as a complex and flawed character, prone to making mistakes but ultimately committed to doing what she believes is right.
Jessica Chastain gives a powerhouse performance as Tammy Faye, fully inhabiting the character and bringing depth and nuance to what could have been a caricature. Her transformation into the heavily made up televangelist is especially impressive, and she captures both the humor and the pathos of the role. Andrew Garfield is also excellent as Jim Bakker, managing to make the character both charming and repugnant. Cherry Jones shines in her scenes as Rachel, bringing warmth and wisdom to the role of Tammy Faye's mother.
The film is directed by Michael Showalter, who is best known for his work on comedies like The Big Sick and Wet Hot American Summer. Here, he balances humor and drama with skill, making the most of the script by Abe Sylvia. The movie is visually striking, with bright colors and bold makeup choices that reflect the excess of the 1980s. The soundtrack is also excellent, featuring standout tracks by artists like Pet Shop Boys and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.
Overall, The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a compelling and well-crafted biopic that offers a fascinating look at a complex and controversial figure. Whether or not you are familiar with Tammy Faye Bakker or the world of televangelism, this movie is sure to be a memorable and thought-provoking experience.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a 2021 drama. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 55.