If you want to see a Best Actress turn from one of the best actresses around, you’ll want to take a look at “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
Based on the 2000 documentary of the same name, the show stars Jessica Chastain, who delivers an Oscar-worthy performance in this biopic as controversial televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
We see how young, exuberant Tammy meets her husband-to-be Jim Bakker (a wonderful Andrew Garfield) at a bible college, and how passionate they are about delivering good news to their Christian audience about love, acceptance and prosperity.
Director Michael Showalter (“The Big Sick”) shows the giggly, breathy Tammy as a sincere Christian who goes on to found The PTL (Praise The Lord) Club with her minister husband. Both loved lavish comforts, and they built an empire that included a theme park.
Tammy, one of eight children who grew up with little money, loved makeup and gaudy clothing, and often was mocked for her sometimes-bizarre appearance. Meanwhile, Tammy’s down-to-earth mother (played by the wonderful, Tony-Award winner Cherry Jones) continues to question her daughter’s lifestyle.
Bakker begins to ignore his wife, who turns elsewhere for comfort. Eventually, scandal brings down the church (you can about here.
Tammy is portrayed as a strong woman who refuses to take second place to the men in the televangelist world around her. I love a scene at a gathering where, much to Jim Bakker’s surprise, Tammy literally takes her seat among the men who want to put her in her place.
Chastain, in one of her most outstanding performances, gives Tammy heart and an earnestness her husband never appears to have.
Although the real Tammy is deceased, Chastain brings her back to life again – and she’s well worth seeing, eyes and all.
3 ½ stars
Running time: Two hours and 6 minutes.
Rated: PG-13 (for sexual situations and drug abuse)
Streaming on amazon prime, Vudu and Apple TV.
Watch the trailer here.