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Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield are fine as central televangelist couple but this biopic offers nothing new.

Don't be fooled by the two Academy Awards televangelist biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye can boast about: this movie follows the rules of the genre so slavishly it feels like you have seen every single scene before, only infinitely better.

Once Southern friend-of-God Tammy Faye and her beau, the pastor Jim Bakker, set off on the road to televangelist stardom you can basically fill in the rest of the story itself, with infidelity, money-laundering and feuds between rivalling evangelists all factoring in at certain points of the narrative.

Had the picture used the format to lay bare the hypocrisy of the religious right in America and fully leaned into the gaudy, over-the-top satire that Bakker and Faye always were, I might still have been entertained but director Michael Showalter and writer Abe Sylvia present the tale as dry and dull as an overcooked Sunday roast.

Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield are fine as the couple, but because the film always remains frustratingly on the surface it fails to answer the main question: which hopes and dreams lie behind The Eyes of Tammy Faye?

release: 2021

director: Michael Showalter

starring: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio


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