A very appropriate “Good Lord” escaped our lips when we saw this one.
We just don’t know about this one, though. With the always-needed proviso that it’s not a good idea to critique a film based on its trailer, something about this just feels a bit off to us. For one, we don’t entirely buy Chastain in the role. For another, it seems like a story like this should be told with heavy dollops of camp, but this trailer comes off a bit like a you-go-girl standard biopic and we tend to think figures like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker should be approached with more than a little bit of skepticism and critique. We know it’s accepted conventional posthumous wisdom that Tammy Faye was a harmless figure who just loved Jesus and singing and makeup, but that’s not at all how she or her husband came across at the time. Evangelical Christianity was a hugely destructive force toward gay people at a time when they were at their most vulnerable, so you’ll pardon us, as folks who remember those days, if we don’t immediately jump on the yaasss-kweeen bandwagon.
But hey, the costumes are fun:
Unfortunately, we think she comes off as a more sympathetic figure than she might have deserved, and Chastain just doesn’t seem to embody the sheer ridiculousness of her as a public figure. What is the point of doing a Tammy Faye biopic called The Eyes of Tammy Faye if you’re going to downplay the bizarre way she wore her makeup?
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE is an intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. In the 1970s and 80s, Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim Bakker, rose from humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and theme park, and were revered for their message of love, acceptance and prosperity. Tammy Faye was legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life. However, it wasn’t long before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal toppled their carefully constructed empire.
Directed by: Michael Showalter
Written by: Abe Sylvia
Produced by: Jessica Chastain, p.g.a., Kelly Carmichael, p.g.a., Rachel Shane, p.g.a., Gigi Pritzker
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Fredric Lehne, Louis Cancelmi, Sam Jaeger, Gabriel Olds, Mark Wystrach, and Vincent D’Onofrio
In theaters September 17, 2021.
[Photo Credit: Searchlight Pictures – Video Credit: SearchlightPictures via Youtube]