Pretty and powerful Tammy Faye emphasizes acceptance

By: Teresa Acosta

Jessica Chastain sparkles as Tammy Faye Bakker as the audience is able to vicariously feel every bit of emotion Tammy Faye Bakker experienced in her life’s work. 

“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” presents Tammy Faye as an unflinching optimist from her childhood to the very end. It never comes across as disingenuous, at times, maybe a little delusional, but always with good intention.

When she meets and marries Jim Bakker, played by Andrew Garfield, her work as an evangelist really begins. Through this work, the religious entertainment world opens up to her and Jim and they are catapulted to the top.

The movie really shows Tammy Faye never settling for, what was at the time, a society that valued a woman in the home. She was an example of a woman who wanted to be successful, and her goal was to show everyone that God loved them no matter what. Not in the conditional way most people promote, but in an absolute way. She embraced everyone.

The marriage really seems to be the main focus of the movie, and it is portrayed as the source of most of her heartache. During the couples’ rise, Jim develops a god complex and appears to forsake everything in his relentless drive to acquire more and more. His lust for power is initially encouraged by Tammy Faye, in her attempt to help people.

Their downfall was scandal, money and greed. Jim was the one who eventually paid the price for the mishandling of the finances, among other things. Garfield makes it easy to dislike the husband of Tammy Faye.

A close second to Chastain’s award worthy portrayal of Tammy Faye is the hair, makeup and costumes. Every piece was immaculate. Tammy Faye had a signature look and was often ridiculed for it. The care that was taken to transform Chastain into Tammy Faye is mesmerizing.

The movie really highlights Tammy Faye as someone who at times could seem oblivious to ridicule, but really just wanted to help people and let them know that they were loved. It goes beyond her religion, beyond her distinct makeup and beyond her fall from grace to show the person she was, a loving and accepting human.

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