(CNN)The stars outshine the movie successful "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," a dazzling showcase for Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield arsenic Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker successful a dutiful, somewhat disjointed chronicle of however the televangelists amassed large wealthiness earlier his disgraced fall. While it's not a landslide vote, acknowledgment to Chastain's disappearing act, "The Eyes" person it.
Spanning respective decades (and burying the leads nether constitution earlier it's over), the movie begins with Tammy and Jim gathering successful 1960 and follows them into the '90s. The brace initially embark connected a whirlwind romance, built astir the tendency to preach the gospel and marque a sidesplitting doing it. "God does not privation america to beryllium poor," a young Jim says, raising the eyebrows of his Bible teacher.
Within a fewer years, they observe television, taking a occupation moving for Pat Robertson's Christian broadcasting operation, with Jim spouting the connection and Tammy beguiling kids with puppets and song.
Tammy's attack to religion welcomes everyone, which puts her astatine likelihood with Jerry Falwell Sr. (Vincent D'Onofrio), who not lone winces astatine a pistillate entering the speech but seeks to physique the spiritual right's governmental powerfulness done condemnation of gays.
"We paid for each this," the mates marvels upon seeing Robertson's palatial estate, earlier the Bakkers motorboat their ain broadcasting empire, the Praise The Lord web (PTL), funneling wealth into their lavish manner astir arsenic accelerated arsenic their viewers (or "partners," arsenic Jim calls them) tin telephone successful contributions.
Adapted from the 2000 documentary of the aforesaid sanction by manager Michael Showalter ("The Big Sick") and writer Abe Sylvia, the movie bounces on fitfully done the flush years, exposing strains successful the narration arsenic Tammy yet turns to pills, washing them down with Diet Coke.
Questions persist, meanwhile, astir PTL's shady finances, with Jim utilizing what helium dismisses arsenic being "persecuted by the secular press" arsenic different means of separating the flock from their money.
Currently successful HBO's "Scenes From a Marriage," Chastain remarkably manages to alteration into Tammy Faye -- from the chirpy dependable to the cartoon eyelashes -- and inactive get beyond specified impersonation. As for supporting players, fewer registry but for Tammy's skeptical parent (Cherry Jones), who has the bully consciousness to support asking however her girl tin wage for those fabulous frocks and lakefront home.
While Showalter punctuates the movie with existent quality clips and deftly recreates the Bakkers' surreal "Nightline" interview, the malfeasance happening wrong PTL is handled vaguely. Jim snaps astatine Tammy arsenic helium obsesses implicit his assorted deals, but by sympathetically keeping the absorption connected seeing done her eyes the communicative becomes messy, leaving unsighted spots astir the network's interior workings earlier it each comes crashing down.
In 1 respect "Eyes of Tammy Faye" feels inordinately timely, with Falwell discussing the powerfulness of budding blimpish media offsetting voices connected the left, and the Bakkers encouraging their assemblage to spot them and tune retired critics.
Like the documentary, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" highlights contradictions and complexity surrounding its rubric quality mostly overlooked astatine the time, from daring to compassionately interrogation idiosyncratic with AIDS (prompting a rebuke from Falwell) to the misogynistic attraction she faced some wrong the religion assemblage and from the media.
It's a terrific show -- laying connected each that constitution lone to excavation done it and find the pistillate within. But it comes successful the work of a movie that doesn't measurement up to it.
"The Eyes of Tammy Faye" premieres successful US theaters connected Sept. 17. It's rated PG-13.