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The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield play Tammy Faye and Jim Baker. Those of us of a certain age will certainly remember them as the founders of the PTL Club (The Jim and Tammy Show) who amassed a fortune in their evangelism ministry and then lost it all quickly in a major corruption scandal (and, of course, infidelity). The best thing about the film is Chastain: She is remarkable as Tammy Faye in the singing voice, all the make-up – she is the reason that you are so drawn into the movie. Andrew Garfield is good as well, but Chastain steals the show. Overall, I thought the movie was just okay. This is partly because I could care less about Jim and Tammy Bakker; the documentary from many years ago of the same title was a much better film about their rise and fall, and I learned as much as I wanted at that time. The current version doesn’t add much to that story. This would have been a much better film if Chastain was able to really plumb the depths of Tammy Faye’s personality and her story and how she came to be as popular as she was even though her love and tolerance for all kinds of people was counter to what was being preached by Falwell and others. But the film was worth watching to see Chastain sink into Tammy Faye and have fun portraying her; it is definitely an award-worthy performance. (2021; 3 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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