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Starring: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Fredric Lehne, Mark Wystrach, Sam Jaeger, Gabriel Olds, Jay Huguley
OUR RATING: ★★½
Bio-drama directed by Michael Showalter. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021) follows the rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain). In the 1970s and 80s, Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield), rose from humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and theme park, and were revered for their message of love, acceptance, and prosperity. However, it wasn’t long before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal toppled their carefully constructed empire.
Our Favorite Quote:
'Everything looks very, very different when you're looking at it from the bottom up.' - Jim Bakker (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) Click To Tweet
Tammy Faye Bakker: [referring to her lips] They’re permanently lined. And my eyes are permanently lined, and my eyebrows are permanently on, so there’s not a whole lot you can do.
Fred Grover: There’s reasons you can’t be seen in church, Tam.
Rachel Grover: Grown-up reasons.
Little Tammy Faye: Is it because everyone thinks you’re a harlot? And I come from a time before Fred made you respectable and stuff.
Jim Bakker: God, He came right down, and He whispered it in my ear. He said, “Jim Bakker, I intend for you to thrive, to live, and to love in this life.” He said it to me. But us Christians, we’ve been taught that we’re supposed to expect failure. When Jesus calls you home, you think you’re going to get a bonus if you make yourself miserable?
Jim Bakker: Heaven is heaven, that is for sure. But God’s hope for us is that we live, and we thrive, and we love here in the promised land. Here and now. Here and now, and in this very, very moment. God does not want us to be poor! Oh, no! He will gift the faithful with eternal life, eternal love, and eternal wealth!
Jim Bakker: Tell me something. Tell me a secret. Something that no one else knows about.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Oh, I have no secrets. I’ll tell you anything you want to know.
Jim Bakker: We’ll start with everything.
Tammy Faye Bakker: I’m a very practical person. And what you see is all there is of me. You know, I don’t pretend to be something I’m not, because what you see is all you get. And I love people. I have a genuine, genuine love for people. And I hurt when people hurt, and probably a little more dramatic than people would like me to be. But I enjoy that. That’s just who I am.
Jim Bakker: I’ve never met anyone quite like you, Tammy Faye.
Rachel Grover: Tammy Faye. What did you do?
Tammy Faye Bakker: Hello, mother. This is Jim Bakker. My husband!
Rachel Grover: [referring to God] What did He tell you to do this time?
Tammy Faye Bakker: Come spring, me and Jim are going to be traveling preachers, bringing God’s love to all people. Anyone who’s hurting, or they feel like they’ve been left out. Jim will preach, and I’ll sing. And we’ll be like Oral Roberts and his wife.
Rachel Grover: Oral Roberts went to college.
Tammy Faye Bakker: God said that we’re supposed to have a good life. That way, we can help bring his love to all people.
Rachel Grover: There’s a limit to God’s love, Tammy Faye.
Tammy, Jim: No.
Jim Bakker: No, there’s no limit to God’s love, Mrs. Grover. And there’s no limit to Tammy Faye and I either.
Jim Bakker: [to Tammy] “Everything works for good for them that love God.” Everything. But you have to have faith in Him, and in me, and in us, because if you don’t, I don’t know what I’m doing here.
Jim Bakker: It’s not a drag to be saved. It’s not a boring thing. That’s religion. See, you got them mixed up. Religion is boring and dull, but Jesus is life.
Rachel Grover: Serving God don’t feel like it should be a moneymaking opportunity.
Tammy Faye Bakker: [over phone] And there’s so much that we don’t talk about. There’s so many secrets. And, you know, everyone says I’m supposed to be tired, but I just want to love people.
Rachel Grover: You got me out of bed to talk to me about how you’re not tired. Does that make sense to you?
Tammy Faye Bakker: No.
'You follow blindly. In the end, all you are is blind.' - Rachel Grover (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) Click To Tweet
Jerry Falwell: [referring to Tammy] She’s a firecracker, Jim.
Jerry Falwell: Now God has a voice in this fight.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Who’s He fighting?
Jerry Falwell: The liberal agenda. The feminist agenda. Homosexual agenda. It’s time for a reversal of these trends. The only hope’s in saving America.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Well, you know, I don’t think of them as homosexuals. I just think of them as other human beings that I love. You know, we’re all just people made out of the same old dirt. And God didn’t make any junk.
Jim Bakker: I’m trying to build something here. I’m not messing around. God told me He wants me to have what Pat has. But if you keep acting like that, if you keep talking to Falwell that way, I’m not going to ever get there.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Well, God’s been talking to me too, you know, Jim? And He said that I got to speak up.
Tammy Faye Bakker: You can’t leave me at home all alone, feeling unloved, and useless. And He said that I belong on TV just as much as you do. And that I should sing, and I should be funny. And I should talk about real things for grown-ups. Just, you know, just the way you do. And he says I’m not going to tell people who’s going to Hell, Jim. We’re in the business of healing people.
Jim Bakker: Jim Bakker is going to be a builder for Christ.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Oh, yes, he will.
Jim Bakker: And Tammy Faye Bakker is going to sing her gospel all around the world. We are going to spread His word.
Jim Bakker: And remember, never forget it. You know what I’m going to say. God loves you. He really, really, really does.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Every day, I have rapture.
Rachel Grover: Rapture? You just spent an hour talking about pumping p**ises.
Rachel Grover: I’m not sure what’s so Christian about decorating a cupcake.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Well, you can’t believe everything that you read in the newspapers, mom. How’s Fred doing? Is he settling in okay?
Rachel Grover: Smoke and fire isn’t just the providence of Hell, girl.
Tammy Faye Bakker: You know when I saw that clipping with my face on it, I thought for a second that you were proud of me.
'I won't go forward looking in the rearview mirror of my life.' - Tammy Faye Bakker (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) Click To Tweet
Rachel Grover: Oh, Tammy Faye. You follow blindly. In the end, all you are is blind.
Tammy Faye Bakker: We’re not doing anything wrong though.
Jim Bakker: Is that a question?
Tammy Faye Bakker: No.
Jim Bakker: Tammy, I need your help. I need you not to get in my way. And I need you to not ask more of me than I can give.
Jim Bakker: Tammy and I are undergoing the most vicious attacks in the history of this ministry.
Jim Bakker: We are being persecuted by the secular press who simply do not want you to receive the word of God. It is a witch hunt. And on top of this, we have numerous past due bills that must be paid if we want to save the entire network and stay on the air delivering the word of God every day. So, now is the time for our prayer warriors to rise up, because we are in a war.
Jim Bakker: You know, Tammy and I, we just hate to do this, but if every person watching, could double their pledge right now, that way, we can save the word of God.
Tammy Faye Bakker: [to Rachel] Why are you so unwilling to accept the love that God has for you?
Jim Bakker: This is such a day of joy. A day of celebration, but I just can’t help the feeling that something else is going on here. That something depraved taints this day.
Gary Paxton: Depraved is a very big word, Jim.
Jim Bakker: But it’s a fitting word, isn’t it, Tammy?
Tammy Faye Bakker: Yes, Jim.
Jim Bakker: You know what they say about details? God is in them.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Every time we fall, God proves His love again, and we come back. We come back bigger, and stronger, and better. “All things work for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”
Tammy Faye Bakker: Are you going to divorce me, Jim?
Jim Bakker: I don’t know. I should. But God hates divorce. It ruined your mother. It’ll do the same to you.
Tammy Faye Bakker: You stopped paying attention to me, Jim.
Jim Bakker: You broke faith with me, Tammy!
Tammy Faye Bakker: Gary wanted me, Jim, in ways that you don’t.
Jim Bakker: I’m an important man, Tammy Faye! And people don’t treat important men the way that you treated me.
Tammy Faye Bakker: [praying] Oh, God. How can I fix this? God? Where did you go? Where are you? Why can’t I feel you?
Jim Bakker: You know, maybe I’ve been a better builder than I’ve been a husband.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Yeah.
Jim Bakker: Yes. But I know for certain that you are the only woman on Earth who understands me.
Tammy Faye Bakker: I learned the best lesson in my whole life because of something terrible that I did, that I cannot take back. I learned how much I love my husband, how much I care for my husband. And I learned a lesson of loneliness such as I never experienced in my whole life. All of a sudden, I realized that there was a lot more to marriage than just the sparkles.
Jim Bakker: God has a fixed law of giving. If you’re not giving, you cannot expect to have abundancy coming back to you. If you aren’t giving, you’re going to have a harvest of misery! You’re going to have a harvest of pain! You’re going to have a harvest of sickness!
Jim Bakker: But people who have sown seed in the word of God, their stock is always up!
Tammy Faye Bakker: This is an emotional interview for me. I just met Steve, and it’s like meeting him in person for the first time. I want to put my arm around you.
Steve Pieters: And I want to put my arms around you, Tammy Faye.
Tammy Faye Bakker: And some people, they’re just hurting so bad, and we just need to love them.
Rachel Grover: Tammy? You had enough drugs in your system to kill a truck driver.
Tammy Faye Bakker: I did?
Rachel Grover: The doctor told us if you’d waited a day longer, you would have had brain damage. You could have died. You can’t take all those pills, honey. They’re addictive.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Well, I didn’t know that. I’ll stop. The doctors didn’t tell me that. I’m not a drug addict. I’m only addicted to Diet Coke.
Rachel Grover: [to Tammy] You have to stay right here. God doesn’t want you yet. I have always prayed to Him that He would allow you to save the souls that I wasn’t able to. And He has. You do. So, you have to stay right here.
Jim Bakker: The Devil’s coming for me, Tammy.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Can we talk about Satan later?
Tammy Faye Bakker: I’ve been hurting so bad, Jim. For years. And there’s never any release to the pain. There’s never anything to make it stop hurting. And when I get up in the morning, I feel like I’m just going to throw up, and throw up, and throw up. And I have to self-talk myself, “You can make it, Tammy. You can make it. Don’t give up.”
Tammy Faye Bakker: I’m so sick from my faith in you!
Jim Bakker: Well, I’m sick of you too. You try being married to Tammy Faye.
Jim Bakker: You used to take care of me, Tammy. You stopped taking care of me.
Tammy Faye Bakker: I don’t want to take care of you, Jim. I don’t want to be your mother! A woman needs a man in a relationship!
Jim Bakker: I am a man!
Tammy Faye Bakker: You’re a boy.
Jim Bakker: I built all of this. I built you an empire!
Tammy Faye Bakker: You built you an empire!
Jim Bakker: I destroyed everything.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Our life’s work, Jim.
Jim Bakker: I know. Tammy. Tam, my sweetheart. If anyone falls, it’s going to be me. You can let me be the man that I was meant to be for you. You don’t know anything.
Jerry Falwell: [to reporters] I don’t see the repentance there. I see the greed. I see the self-centeredness. I see the avarice that brought them down. Jim, I have sat across the table from men who have told me about your homosexual advances. And since then, I have learned of fiscal irregularities.
Jim Bakker: It’s all over. I’ve been had.
Tammy Faye Bakker: It’s not over till it’s over.
Stephen Chow: It is dangerous to want to be seen just for the sake of it. You know?
Tammy Faye Bakker: Well, I do love the camera, but…
Stephen Chow: Why?
Tammy Faye Bakker: Well, because it’s a person. It’s someone to talk to. It’s God’s love through me.
Tammy Faye Bakker: [as she visits Jim in prison] I haven’t been in church for years.
Jim Bakker: Well, that’s where you belong.
Tammy Faye Bakker: No, I don’t belong with them. They’re going to laugh. I’m not going to go.
Jim Bakker: It’s my fault you feel that way. I’m sorry for that. All of it.
Jim Bakker: I’ve been getting some real me and God time in here. And everything looks very, very different when you’re looking at it from the bottom up.
Jim Bakker: And I’ve just been thinking, were we preaching that God doesn’t love you if you’re poor?
Tammy Faye Bakker: Well, you know that I grew up poor. It’s not what you have in stuff, it’s the people that count.
Fred Grover: One good thing about your mom kicking the bucket is I never have to go to church again.
Tammy Faye Bakker: No, I shouldn’t laugh at that.
Fred Grover: [referring to the mink coat] She hid this.
Tammy Faye Bakker: She stole it.
Fred Grover: Well, she said she’d be damned if she was going to hand over this precious thing her daughter worked so hard for to the fat Baptist.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Jesus, come in to my heart, and forgive me my sins. I know I cared about things that I shouldn’t have. And I know I got lost, and I forgot who you are to me. But that’s done now. Yeah, I won’t go forward looking in the rearview mirror of my life.
Tammy Faye Bakker: Oh, how thankful I am for the amazing grace of God. Because without that beautiful grace, I wouldn’t even be here today. That grace that reached down, and said, “Tammy Faye, I love you! And I love you just the way you are!” You know God’s grace is sufficient enough for you today too. And He loves you just the way you are!