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Film / The Eyes Of Tammy Faye

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Look past the makeup.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a 2021 biographical drama film, based on the 2000 documentary film of the same name, directed by Michael Showalter, and starring Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, and Vincent D'Onofrio.

The film covers the rise of the Tammy Faye (Chastain) and Jim Bakker (Garfield) as superstar televangelists during the 1980s, and their complicated relationship with Tammy's mother Rachel (Jones), and sometimes mentor/adversary Jerry Falwell (D'Onofrio).

The film had its initial release at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12th, 2021, before having a US domestic release on September 17th.


Tropes in this film include:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Jim's long-rumored homosexuality is alluded to in the film, most notably regarding his lack of physical intimacy with Tammy in the later years of their marriage, the close relationship he's shown to have with his aide Richard Fletcher, and by referencing the allegations of sexual misconduct from male accusers. (He's also portrayed by Andrew Garfield, who has a bit of a gay following.) The film itself doesn't take a firm stance on it, instead leaving it up to interpretation.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted. The Bakkers were Pentecostal.
  • Product Placement: Tammy Faye drinks numerous cans of Diet Coke throughout the movie. Justified in that the soda was the real Tammy Faye's favorite drink.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: True to reality, Tammy Faye prefers garish eye makeup, but this film shows that she did not always. Chastain herself also wore facial prosthetics to better resemble her, in and out of her signature makeup.
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  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Tammy is frustrated and haunted by her mother's lack of approval of her activities, as Rachel believes making money from faith is immoral and is disturbed by the headlines of Jim's embezzling. At one point, Tammy outright demands her mother say she's proud of her, but Rachel instead presses her on the headlines, which Tammy casually dismisses as fake.


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