James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
James Clay// Film Critic
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE
Rated PG-13, 129 minutes.
Director: Michael Showalter
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield
Now available on digital and blu ray November 16th
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE chronicles the strange life of Tammy Faye Bakker and her husband Jim Bakker, who were benchmark televangelists for nearly 30 years during the rise of cable. Their famed network Praise the Lord came tumbling down after Jim raped a young woman and embezzled millions of dollars. The story is incredibly depressing and uncovers the hypocrisy of Conservative Christians, but if you want a thorough account of the story, check out the podcast “You’re Wrong About.” Th
Director Michael Showalter’s (THE BIG SICK) take on the biopic is enough to raise a few eyebrows and break convention from the swath of biopics that crash into theaters each awards season. The cradle-to-grave story is told earnestly enough for mainstream audiences to get swept up in the ultra saccharine exploits of the young Bakkers who are “called by god” to spread the word. Everything is on the up and up until Jim sweeps Tammy Faye away in a brand new Cadillac and says it’s time to hit the road. The audience knows his motives are dubious; sadly, Tammy Faye is none the wiser.
Chastain and Garfield are both serving up equally looney performances that draw from real martial issues, but it plays as a pure farcical tale from the perspective of these two. This version of high camp Oscar bait is so easy to lap up, digest, and beg for more; it’s as if the influence of Frank Perry’s MOMMIE DEAREST was in Showalter’s filmmaking DNA.
Overall, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE is one of the most purely entertaining movies for adults in 2021; it captures a tone that runs with it and unlocks some deplorable behaviors still lurking today. Fantastic movie, recommend it to your family this holiday season, donate all your presents to charity and gather round the tele to watch it with your family. Actually, wake the kids up; they should see it too.
Special Features: The special features are 26 minutes in length and offer insight into the making of the film, covering a wide range of topics. Chastain is a passionate creator, and that comes through not only in her performance but also in how she speaks about her creative process. If you purchase on iTunes (which is how I watched the film), it automatically comes in a 4K version, and it looks spectacular. The colors pop, and the cheeseball music sings at various points in the film. The added level of clarity doesn’t shine a poor light on the mega makeup work either.
- Window to the Soul
- Leap of Faith
- The Calling
- Theatrical trailer