THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (2021)
A fair-minded look at the well-known televangelists who built an empire and lost everything, The Eyes of Tammy Faye features award-worthy performances from Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield even as the biopic only scrapes the surface of the couple’s entanglements.
Chastain and Garfield star as Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker respectively in this intimate look at the rise and fall of the religious couple who spread love and the word of God through their ability to connect with millions. While Garfield is at his best here, it’s Chastain who completely steals every scene that she is in, embodying the eccentric preacher of love and acceptance from head to toe. Not only does she physically transform for the part, it’s her mannerisms and emotional range that instantly places her among the best performers out there and cements her connection in awards season.
One of the greatest strengths of The Eyes of Tammy Faye, beyond the performances, is the immersive set design, costuming, and make-up that transports you through the decades covered, expertly brought together by director Michael Showalter. That journey, however, is rather fast-tracked with subtle moments meant to advance the story and introduce the fermenting turmoil that leads to the climax. While more time in the weeds of what actually occurred would have given increased depth to the plot, writer Abe Sylvia, in my opinion, artfully weaves the important moments into the screenplay allowing for a tight film that delivers.
This is, quite simply, one of my favorite movies of the year thanks to an intriguing story and powerhouse, memorable performances that will have everyone talking and, frankly, left me speechless.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is now playing in select theaters and will expand next Friday.
Photo from IndieWire