Under Tammy Faye’s fake lashes are some pretty eyes if you remember the well constructed religious empire Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain) and husband Jim (Andrew Garfield) formed in 1974 and hosted for 14 seasons as the popular televangelists on the PTL Club. The film focuses on the rise and fall of the Bakkers as scandals ruined them. Jim would preach in his younger years with a young Tammy Faye looking on from the audience. They hooked up (un-Godly style), eloped, skipped college and went straight to a traveling ministry. It was through those travels when they met religious man Jerry Fallwell (Vincent D’ Onefrio) who insisted being referred to as Reverend Fallwell.
The Bakkers were offered their own television show, soared to popularity, but was destroyed by scandals. The donation cup meant for the church went straight for illegitimate purposes that brought down the ministry. Jim served some serious time for the crime, was released and is currently back at it again with a different take being in his 80’s now.
Backing up a young Tammy was all about the makeup and would have made a great cover-girl spokes-person. She sported tattooed lips, heavy mascara, followed by thick eyelashes. The prostetics and makeup in this biopic from Fox Searchlight, directed by Michael Showalter is based on the book of the same name by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato are stunning on Chastain as it takes her through the aging process with the wigs adding justice to the make-up dept.
Andrew Garfield looked fine as he started out a young buck but except for a quick glamps of his prison life when he showed age, it was weak. The acting was superb and with this being the Jessica Chastain show, there is Oscar buzz floating among us she has my vote. Let’s pray on it. Garfield’s character held back and could have stepped forward more. But again it all about The Eyes of Tammy Faye and her hand puppets vs her idiosyncratic singing and pill popping. Cherry Jones as Tammy’s dominating strictly religious mother added interest to the drama as she always had her opinions. With this documentary being produced by Chastain she hits, and scores at 2h 6m. See the film in theaters September 17. 4 stars (out of 5)