Chastain throws herself into Tammy Faye Bakker, the infamous spouse of the king of televangelism, Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). In a fairly conventional biopic construction, Tammy Faye’s life unfolds from her childhood fascination with faith to her courtship with a younger Jim. The Tammy Faye of Showalter’s movie is outspoken and strident, daring to sit at a desk with the boys advising her husband on his rising profession, a lot to the disdain of a conservative like Jerry Falwell (a glowering Vincent D’Onofrio). Showalter and Chastain play Tammy Faye as a pure soul, somebody who believed in all of her causes and was surrounded by inferior males who constantly tried to dim her internal brightness.
Whether or not or not that’s true isn’t actually a problem. I’m tremendous embracing the constructive aspect of Tammy Faye, particularly given her progressive beliefs about acceptance and homosexuality—Showalter recreates the well-known interview with Steve Pieters that acknowledged the existence of AIDS at a time when nobody in Tammy Faye’s occupation was keen to take action, and it has simple emotional energy. Chastain captures her as a continuously spinning firecracker, somebody who folks like Jim and Jerry knew how one can use to achieve a financially-driven fan base however couldn’t actually comprehend. She was pure. When Chastain says, “I simply need to love folks,” she clearly believes it.
Nonetheless, the picture rehabilitation for Tammy Faye Bakker solely will get to this point dramatically, and would have been higher served in a richer, extra formidable movie. Consider one thing like “I, Tonya,” a film that additionally rehabs a really public determine however does so with wit and fervour that’s missing right here. An excessive amount of of “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” leans on make-up and costumes to inform its story, reducing collectively montages of “Prime Tammy Faye” like a spotlight reel at a Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony. All of it lacks in depth or dramatic objective, one thing that’s enhanced by a really skinny illustration of Bakker. Garfield is a really gifted actor, however author Abe Sylvia by no means bothers to get beneath the pores and skin of Bakker. Was he a charlatan or a purist? He’s clearly a weak man, however he’s additionally sort of a clean slate right here, the straight man to Tammy Faye’s ardour, and he comes off as underwritten.