The Eyes of Tammy Faye

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

An intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.

Televangelists are obviously in at the moment as we have ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ on television, and now we have ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’, a biopic of Tammy Faye (Jessica Chastain) and Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield), two televangelists who were particularly popular back in the 1980s. It follows a fairly standard biopic template in covering their lives, their rise and subsequent fall, and I do suspect my limited knowledge of this world and these people impacted on my enjoyment.

We don’t really have televangelists here in the UK (unless we’re counting ‘Songs of Praise’!) and I do find the whole concept a little baffling, so ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ can act as a primer to this bizarre world, the people who inhabit it and ultimately the people that watch these programmes. However, its issue to an extent is the story isn’t anything special as far as biopics go and we’ve seen better movies cover people who manage to achieve a degree of fame and then falter whilst at the top. What this film does have is a really strong central performance from Jessica Chastain, and this is a textbook example of a film that provides that showcase without the movie itself being particularly good in its own right.

It does have its moments when it shows Faye’s attempts to challenge the conservative views of most others within the church, marking her out as a stronger character than she perhaps initially appears, but I felt it often got bogged down in relationship drama that wasn’t that interesting or insightful – particularly when you know little or care little about the characters being depicted. ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ will appeal to those well versed in this world or Jessica Chastain enthusiasts, but my appetite for televangelism will keep me sticking solely to ‘The Righteous Gemstones’, which is great!

Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Michael Showalter

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Vincent D’Onofrio, Cherry Jones, Mark Wystrach, Sam Jaeger, Louis Cancelmi, Gabriel Olds and Fredric Lehne

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