I guess my main question for Michael Showalter, director of The Eyes of Tammy Faye is why not shoot higher than just a adapted copy of a documentary. Yes, it gave the specific impression that Tammy Faye was duped or lured into manipulation by her narcissistic husband Jim Bakker, but after reading her Wiki page after, man, did she have so much life after Jim goes to prison and she attempts to reinvent herself.
So, as the armchair script doctor, here’s what I’d do: Terrence Malick the heck out of this story: moment of her upbringing, dissatisfied, shamed religious mother, meeting Jim, meeting Falwell, hitting it big, Jim’s secrets, Tammy’s drug addiction, close affair with music producer, mother’s death, Jim imprisonment, next marriage, cancer battle one, Surreal Life, cancer battle two, etc. Sure, you’d have a 3 hour flick, but it would be profound.
Still, The Eyes of Tammy Faye is totally worth seeing. Jessica Chastain’s performance was amazing and even with chubby cheek implants, she is drop dead gorgeous. This is perfect, not just from an eye candy standpoint, but because Tammy Faye had an inner light and beauty (caring for gay people before it was fashionable, for instance) and is worthy of a movie in her honor. Or was she? For all the love she had for people, the movie shows her having two children, but not any motherly nurturing of said kids. Hence, being a protector of children’s rights, that is a question I wish the movie could have answered.
Andrew Garfield was excellent as the whiny Jim Bakker and one of his monologues made me say a The Lighthouse Willem DaFoe-esque ‘whoa’. Never a big fan of the guy, I thought differently after the film Under the Silver Lake and this role helps solidify his talent.
Vincent D’Onofrio, Cherry Jones, and Mark Wystrach were also rock solid as Falwell, Tammy’s mom and Gary S. Paxton respectively.