In what can only be described as sensational, Jessica Chastain’s performance in The Eyes of Tammy Faye will bring chills to audiences across the country. Very rarely can we watch an actor lose themselves in a character or a particular moment; the quickest example that comes to mind is Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. What we see in Michael Showalter’s film is a performance for the ages. One exudes heart, hope, pain and shows that even the most souls can find a way home. The Eyes of Tammy Faye isn’t about sensationalizing what we already know; it allows the audience to see things through Tammy’s eyes.
Andrew Garfield delivers an equally fascinating performance as Jim Bakker. Garfield does a brilliant job exuding Jim’s vulnerability and how much he relied on Tammy in the beginning. What elevates his performance is Andrew gradually showed how money and greed impacted who he was. Who Jim was, in the beginning, isn’t what he became. What’s sad is how by default, it affected Tammy as well. Showalter’s film does a great job of showing how impressionable Tammy was in the beginning. Her childhood truly shaped what she became. While Tammy was seduced by wealth, her true dream was to be a mother and help others.
The makeup and prosthetics team will undoubtedly garner much attention because of their work in transforming both Garfield and Chastain. Garfield’s look was a tad more subtle, but Chastain’s transformation throughout the film was stunning. At the end of the film, they make a side-by-side comparison between the two (the real Tammy Faye and Chastian’s Tammy Faye), and it’s near-identical. The film is edited well and uses old news footage to help further the story along.
While the prospects of a great box office are pretty slim in this age of COVID, this is the type of title that we shouldn’t judge its commercial worth right away. As Award Season kicks into full force and Chastain emerges as one of the favorites, this film could have a second life in theaters. At this point, why wait? Support this film!