TORONTO — Another title for the film “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” could be “Behind the Mascara.”
Throughout the enlightening biopic about husband-and-wife televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, which premiered Sunday on the Toronto International Film Festival, Tammy Faye’s make-up will get thicker and thicker because the years go by.
After some time the coverup, rouge and mile-long eyelashes are now not magnificence enhancements, however a protecting defend in opposition to the fact of her crumbling life.
The garish eighties give strategy to the drab, T-shirt-and-jeans nineties and, ultimately, the bronzed girl appears like… effectively, let’s simply say she appears like anyone who’s by no means cracked the backbone of a bible earlier than.
Tammy Faye, to say the least, was one of a form.
As portrayed by a shape-shifting Jessica Chastain, the larger-than-life icon is humanized, however solely barely. We come away with the distinct impression that Tammy Faye the particular person and Tammy Faye the persona merged at an early age. The darkness — introduced on by infidelity, drugs, her husbands’ jealousy and her mom’s (Cherry Jones) displeasure — stewed, however she not often let it scream.
Chastain’s efficiency, which ought to internet her an Oscar nomination, is variety however warped, bold however subservient, self-loving and self-loathing. Underneath the floor is a truckload of complexity, fastidiously hid by a dressing up. Just like Tammy Faye. And Chastain has received that freaky giggle down. She’s a marvel.
The actress is the showpiece of director Michael Showalter’s movie that takes us from her Minnesota childhood when she spoke in tongues in church to meeting charismatic Jim (Andrew Garfield) in bible college. The two start relationship and get married instantly, not content material with PG over-the-clothes motion. Soon they proclaim they’ve been known as by God to evangelise his phrase on the highway. With puppets.
The main TV preacher of the day, Pat Robertson, catches wind of their kiddie act and shortly they land their very own well-liked household present on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Jim, out for himself, finagles an improve and turns into the primary host of the extra mature “700 Club.”
That’s when the sunshine of God loses its luster to the glint of fame. The hungry couple begins their very own competing community PTL (Praise the Lord), which buys them an extravagant waterfront home by unethically plundering the donations of viewers. Every time anyone asks how they paid for such an opulent property, they are saying “God is good!”
Oops. They meant “fraud is good”!
The “secular news media” catches as much as their scheme, the facade cracks and their careers are over.
What separates “Eyes of Tammy Faye” from the tidal wave of true-story motion pictures we get each year — usually about actors, musicians and politicians — is the the pure outlandishness of its topics. The Bakkers have been just like the Osmonds meets Pee Wee meets Sunday college. Today we merely don’t enable folks like them to be well-known. While I want Showalter’s movie had gone deeper, their highway to stardom alone is fascinating.
Also value one other look is how the lady sought to combine up to date points — feminism, AIDS — into what was a fire-and-brimstone gig. Jerry Falwell (Vincent D’Onofrio) the movie claims, hated her compassionate “God loves everybody” stance and tried to deliver her down for it.
While he’s overshadowed by Chastain, Garfield is doing sturdy work as Jim, who’s nonetheless alive and 81 in the present day. The actor brings his Spidey allure to the function and blends it with the preacher’s merciless, vindictive, envious streak. The film suggests the outdated homosexual allegations in opposition to Jim is perhaps true (he’s denied it), however falls simply quick of doing so. Nobody makes a film hoping to get sued.
Tammy Faye died in 2007. Chastain’s revelation of a efficiency will give her new life — and the voice she by no means had.