Although she was often the butt of jokes for critics, the late TV evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker was an inspiration and an icon for many others. With her over-the-top enthusiasm, her warbly singing, her gaudy attire and exaggerated makeup, she became a cultural phenomenon. Jessica Chastain gives an appropriately exuberant performance as Bakker in the new biopic “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” It chronicles her rise and fall as she and her husband Jim Bakker faced both success and scandal. It’s the perfect example of a film that relies entirely on the lead performance to carry the day and Chastain’s work screams, “Don’t forget about me, Oscar.” Andrew Garfield is equally good as her ethically challenged husband, Jim. Unfortunately, this conventional film only skims the surface and doesn’t provide much insight into Tammy Faye’s inner life. But it’s got Chastain, and that’s enough to merit a “Hallelujah.”
“Come From Away” is a filmed recording of a live stage production of the hit Broadway musical now streaming on Apple TV+. It tells the remarkable true story of the tiny island town of Gander, Newfoundland that housed over 7,000 airline passengers from around the world who were stranded after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While it doesn’t quite provide the same level of energy as an actual live theatrical event, “Come From Away” is cleverly staged and well sung. Like the adaptation of “Hamilton,” the filmmakers utilize creative camera movement and placement to prevent the action of a stage play from becoming too visually static on the screen. “Come From Away” is a warm salute to the kindness and generosity of these stalwart, selfless Canadians.
Good news for movie buffs, the Glenwood Arts Theater is finally back in operation this week. More info is available at fineartsgroup.com.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, and fineartsgroup.com.