Those of us above a certain age remember the late Tammy Faye Bakker for her boundless enthusiasm, her makeup that some might call excessive and how she was portrayed in the press. When she and first husband, Jim Bakker made the news in the 1980’s for the financial scandal surrounding their television ministry, there was no escaping the headlines.
The new movie, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, takes the audience behind the flash and the noise to reveal the real woman. Stepping into the shoes of Tammy Faye and Jim are Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield. The film follows Bakker from her early years, where she is an outcast due to her parents divorce to the high of being the face of televangelism for a generation, and finally when she became a late night punchline that revolved around the fiscal mismanagement of the Bakker’s Christian ministry empire.
First of all, kudos to the makeup and hair department. They were able to recreate Tammy Faye’s iconic look without making it look like Chastain was wearing a Halloween mask. What I liked about the film is that the woman on the screen is much more than was in the news back in the day. She has a big heart, genuinely believes in her mission (and her husband), and unlike others in her world, is willing to embrace members of LGBTQ community.
A nice counterpoint to Tammy Faye is her mother, Rachel, played by Cherry Jones. Rachel is down to earth and practical. She does not exactly want to burst her daughter’s bubble, but wants to bring Tammy Faye back to reality. What I did not realize is that in her own way, Bakker was a feminist. She was not the typical wife of religious leader who quietly stays in her lane. Tammy Faye was an equal partner in sharing their message with viewers and fans. My only complaint is that towards the end of the film, a few minutes could have been cut from the final presentation.
A party should be a simple thing: drinks, food, music to add a little ambiance and good friends. But sometimes parties become a little more complicated.
In the new movie, The Party, Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) has just won a hard-fought political election. To celebrate her new role, Janet and her husband, Bill (Timothy Spall) have invited friends over to celebrate. Janet’s BFF, April (Patricia Clarkson), who is very much the realist brings her new age-y boyfriend, Gottfried (Bruno Ganz). Also invited is the married and newly pregnant lesbian couple Martha (Cherry Jones) and Jinny (Emily Mortimer). The last invited guest to arrive is Tom (Cillian Murphy), one half of a power couple who are known for their physical appearance as much as they are known for their status.
What starts out as an evening to celebrate Janet’s success become an evening of painful reveals that may forever change the course of the character’s lives.
Directed and co-written by Sally Potter, this film looks and sounds like a stage play. I would not be surprised, if at some point, the movie was re-made into a stage play. Filmed in black and white, the comedy is dark, satirical and hits the perfect note.
This movie is one of the best movies of 2018 so far.
In the early 1970’s, Agnes (Cherry Jones) runs a bed and breakfast while raising her teenage daughter, Penny (Morgan Saylor) on an island near Seattle, Washington. The bed and breakfast is a cover for an underground battered women’s shelter. Mary Anne (Zoe Kazan, granddaughter of the legendary director Elia Kazan) is running from her abusive husband. Paul (Patch Darragh) is one of Agnes’s clients, seeking shelter from his own past. Hannah (Cherise Boothe) came to the island looking for work and the womyns group she has been following.
This play is beyond magnificent. The topics of feminism, homosexuality, abortion, spousal abuse, teenage angst is written in such a way by playwright Sarah Treem that instead of being preachy or soapboxy, it intertwines with the secrets that we all have. Put against the backdrop of the early 1970’s, when the world was changing, this play is dynamic, powerful and everything a play should be.
There is a reason that Tennessee Williams is one of the most brilliant playwrights of the 20th century. His characters are so human, full of the same experiences, joys and mistakes that we all go through in life.
The Glass Menagerie is the story of a family living in the midwest during the 1930’s. Amanda Wingfield is a single mother living with her adult children, Tom (Zachary Quinto) and Laura (Celia Keenan-Bolger). Tom is working at a local factory and frequently argues with his mother. Laura is walks with a limp and only socializes with her mother and brother, suffering from anxiety attacks if she has to socialize with anyone else.
Amanda is determined to bring in gentleman callers for her daughter and fondly remembers her youth and the gentleman callers she used to entertain. When Tom bring in a gentleman caller (Brian J Smith) home for dinner, a slim chance of happiness and marital bliss appears for Laura, only for it to be smashed into tiny pieces by the end of the play.
Tennessee Williams is one of my favorite playwrights. I love Streetcar Named Desire, it’s one of the most brilliant plays ever written, Blanche Bubois is hands down one of the great characters ever created. The same themes of reality vs. fantasy, the dream like memories of the past vs. the rough and not so nice present appear in both plays.
Cherry Jones is a wonder in this part. I saw her a few years ago in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. She blew me away then and she blew me away this weekend. Zachary Quinto and Celia Keenan-Bolger as her children seem on stage as if they are really siblings, instead of actors pretending to be siblings. Brian J Smith as the gentleman caller gives the audience hope that Laura may find the happiness that both she and her mother want to have.
The play closes on February 23rd. If you have the opportunity to get tickets, I highly recommend this show.