Going into The Eyes of Tammy Faye I didn’t know what to expect. Of course, I’d heard of Tammy Faye Bakker and her husband Jim Bakker but didn’t know much about them. From the trailer I was expecting something very negative about her. Hollywood, after all, is usually pretty rough on religious people especially if there is a scandal attached to them.
Imagine my surprise leaving the theater to find the movie to be overwhelmingly positive in its portrayal of Tammy Faye? In fact, it was so positive I had to wonder if the Bakker family had final approval over the script? All that said, I still enjoyed the film and especially loved Jessica Chastain’s performance as Tammy Faye. Andrew Garfield is good as well as Jim but Chastain steals the movie.
The film is based on a documentary of the same name which was released back in 2000. I haven’t seen the documentary although I am definitely curious to watch it after seeing this dramatic version. Chastain transforms into Tammy Faye not only with the makeup and costumes but also with her acting and singing. I had no idea she could sing so well. It’s a complete performance.
I also had no idea Tammy Faye was an advocate for AIDS patients. In particular an interview with patient Steve Pieters where she tells him “I just want to love people” as God does was very moving.
It will be interesting to see what others think of this film. I do think they could have shown something about the victims that Jim and Tammy Faye took advantage of in their organization. Jim takes most of the blame in the scheme and maybe that is true to life but if so, it makes Tammy Faye seem like a very naive person.
Nevertheless, go see The Eyes of Tammy Faye for Jessica Chastain’s incredible performance and an unusual story of redemption.
7 out of 10