Kevin Spacey in Fall from Grace (1990)

It's Showtime

"Fall from Grace" is a drama about one time TV evangelist Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye Bakker (Kevin Spacey and Bernadette Peters) whose PTL television ministry, their business practices as well as Jim's infidelity come in to the public spotlight when financial irregularities are discovered by journalists which lead to a full blown investigation.

"Fall from Grace" starts with a scene of Jim Bakker committing adultery with Jessica Hahn which is followed by a scene of Jim visiting a senior minister who brings him up over his infidelity. Now what follows to some may seem a terrible scene but it explains why Kevin Spacey took the role as that scene shows the complexity of Jim Bakker. On one hand we have this man who you can tell started off with good intentions to spread the word, but then we also see how spreading the word turned into a business and a show and in a moment where he should be remorseful he doesn't know how to without making it a show. You also get aspects that having built an empire he had become a con man, looking for a way out of the situation through side stepping trouble and covering it up, again using his showman skills. It is this which not only explains why Spacey became involved as we see the man away from the limelight but also makes "Fall from Grace" interesting.

Bernadette Peters in Fall from Grace (1990)

Now aside from Kevin Spacey's involvement we also have Bernadette Peters another name which to be honest you don't expect to see in a TV movie and whilst it is Spacey who delivers the interesting character Peters enthusiastic performance and look is what grabs your attention. And trust me when both Spacey and Peters share the screen you can't keep your eyes off of them because of the complexity of their characters and their convincing interactions with Jim often manipulating Tammy through her love of shopping.

But now I come to the actual story and in a sad way the storyline to "Fall from Grace" is where it falls down. Not only does it play expecting the audience to already know the story but it is also feels sanitized, done in such a way not to offend anyone. It means that at times it feels not only disjointed but lacking believability. Yet it is also interesting as we get a glimpse of what happen, from Jim's infidelity, of course the fraud which they end up getting caught for but also the workings of the TV show with Jim being instructed what to do through an ear piece. In many ways it makes you smile whilst intriguing you as to how Jim managed to deviate from the path so far.

What this all boils down to is that "Fall from Grace" is an interesting drama about the rise and fall of Jim and Tammy Bakker. But the most interesting aspect is the characterisation of Jim Bakker away from the camera with Kevin Spacey doing a fantastic job of bringing to life the complexity of the character.