Review: ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ is an Absurdist Vehicle for a Great Jessica Chastain Performance

“I have a genuine love for people,” Tammy Faye Bakker says in Michael Showalter’s new film, The Eyes of Tammy Faye. 

Heart

Showalter’s biopic of Tammy Faye is based on the 2000 documentary of the same name by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. 

Jessica Chastain, in addition to being a producer of the film, portrays the titular character in a stunning and transformative performance.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye, as the title suggests, is largely from her perspective. The film lets us believe that she was unaware of the corruption her husband was involved with due to some combination of her own naivete, her willingness to turn a blind eye, and his reluctance to share anything with her.

If the film were not based on real people, it would almost feel too extreme. Everything from the performances to the costumes are over the top and ridiculous, but that’s the truth behind this story. The film leans into Tammy Faye’s absurd earnestness, which lends to some fantastic comical moments.

The design is one of the best things about the movie from the showy costumes that help ground us in the timeline to the production design, both of the TV studios and of the Bakkers’ lavish home.