TORONTO — One other title for the film “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” might be “Behind the Mascara.”
All through the enlightening biopic about husband-and-wife televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, which premiered Sunday on the Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant, 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 protect in opposition to the fact of her crumbling life.
The garish eighties give strategy to the drab, T-shirt-and-jeans nineties and, in the long run, the bronzed girl seems to be like… nicely, let’s simply say she seems to be like any person who’s by no means cracked the backbone of a bible earlier than.
Tammy Faye, to say the least, was one among a sort.
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 web her an Oscar nomination, is form however warped, bold however subservient, self-loving and self-loathing. Beneath the floor is a truckload of complexity, rigorously hid by a fancy dress. Identical to 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 assembly charismatic Jim (Andrew Garfield) in bible faculty. The 2 start courting and get married straight away, not content material with PG over-the-clothes motion. Quickly 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 Community. Jim, out for himself, finagles an improve and turns into the primary host of the extra mature “700 Membership.”
That’s when the sunshine of God loses its luster to the flicker of fame. The hungry couple begins their very own competing community PTL (Reward the Lord), which buys them an extravagant waterfront home by unethically plundering the donations of viewers. Each time any person asks how they paid for such an opulent property, they are saying “God is sweet!”
Oops. They meant “fraud is sweet”!
The “secular information 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 yearly — sometimes about actors, musicians and politicians — is the the pure outlandishness of its topics. The Bakkers had been just like the Osmonds meets Pee Wee meets Sunday faculty. In the present day we merely don’t permit folks like them to be well-known. Whereas I want Showalter’s movie had gone deeper, their highway to stardom alone is fascinating.
Additionally 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 all people” stance and tried to carry her down for it.
Whereas he’s overshadowed by Chastain, Garfield is doing sturdy work as Jim, who’s nonetheless alive and 81 right now. The actor brings his Spidey allure to the function and blends it with the preacher’s merciless, vindictive, envious streak. The film suggests the previous homosexual allegations in opposition to Jim could be true (he’s denied it), however falls simply wanting doing so. No one 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.