Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato , The Eyes of Tammy Faye introduces audiences to television preacher Jim Bakker ( Andrew Garfield ) and Tammy Faye Bakker ( Jessica Chastain).) which had become one of the icons of the United States television industry in the 1970s to 1980s. Like most other biopics, this film begins its story from the childhood of the character Tammy Faye Bakker who was born to parents who are religious preachers who later inspired her to continue her college education in the field of religion where she met – and later married – the character Jim Bakker. Feeling that television is the best propaganda medium with a broad reach to convey religious messages, Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker start their careers in the television industry by working with Pastor Pat Robertson ( Gabriel Olds).) which owns the popular da’wah television network, the Christian Broadcasting Network. With determination and hard work, both of them began to gain attention from a wide audience until finally they were able to build their own television network and propaganda media.
There’s nothing too special about the storytelling of The Eyes of Tammy Faye . As a biopic, this film directed by Michael Showalter ( The Lovebirds , 2020) is only able to speak with a familiar formula that has been repeatedly applied by various other Hollywood biopics. Not a really bad presentation. Showalter clearly understands what the film is trying to convey. With a storyline that tells of eccentric characters, The Eyes of Tammy Fayepresented in a storytelling tone that combines elements of drama with comedy in the right measure, never feels overwhelming, or covers one element with another. Showalter’s direction also succeeded in making this film flow with a straightforward narrative and easy to enjoy.
With a title that focuses on the character of Tammy Faye Bakker, the story script of The Eyes of Tammy Faye directed by Abe Sylvia tries to tell the story and the conflicts experienced by the two main characters through the point of view of Tammy Faye Bakker’s character. This choice feels effective when The Eyes of Tammy Faye is still struggling around the romantic relationship that exists between the characters of Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker that fills the early half of the story of this film or the struggles that Tammy Faye Bakker’s character must go through alone after the big failure that greeted him. which is narrated in the latter half of the film.
At the same time, the choice of story also makes the middle half of the film – which focuses more on the turbulence of the television industry where the two main characters are involved – feels empty and less able to appear binding due to the lack of interesting story management. In fact, the elements of stories about religion which are often used and misused for personal gain presented by this film actually have great potential to be processed into a biting storytelling presentation. Unfortunately, failed to develop better.
The strong moments in the presentation of the story of The Eyes of Tammy Faye really rely on the strength of the appearance of the filler in the acting department. Playing the character of Tammy Faye Bakker, Chastain appeared extraordinarily strong. Thanks to his appearance, the character of Tammy Faye Bakker who is depicted as naive and eccentric in dealing with the various conflicts that stand in his way can easily steal the attention and attract the sympathy of the audience. Chastain also ensures that his appearance doesn’t feel overdone or comical. The chemistry that Chastain has with Garfield – who appears almost flawless and once again proves his prowess as an actor – also makes the relationship between the two main characters very convincing.
In addition to the appearances of Chastain and Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye’s acting department also received solid performance support from Cherry Jones – who played the mother of Tammy Faye Bakker’s character, Rachel LaValley, Vincent D’Onofrio – who played the role of Pastor Jerry Falwell’s character who often has attitudes and humanitarian principles that are opposite to the characters of Tammy Faye Bakker, and Sam Jaeger– who plays the character of Roe Messner who will later have a special relationship with the character of Tammy Faye Bakker. Jones, D’Onofrio, and Jaeger were able to bring their characters to life well. It’s quite disappointing to watch the script of this film and then not be able to give these characters a better storytelling space.