Chastain as Tammy Wynette and Michael Shannon as George Jones are TV dynamite as the country music stars making love, war and cracking harmonies together
In the first episode of George & Tammy (Paramount+), a serviceable love story supercharged by its two leads, Tammy Wynette tells a band of local musicians “I believe you have to live a song to make it good”. Over the course of six episodes, and five husbands, Jessica Chastain’s Wynette lives those songs. Anyone familiar with her music’s yearning and sadness will know that this is not going to be a fairytale. “She speaks for the woman who’s been kicked in the ass all her life,” is how Wynette’s longtime producer Billy Sherrill once described her.
This is an entertaining and well executed drama, even if it does lack the razzle-dazzle you might expect from a country biopic. Perhaps creator Abe Sylvia was all out of glitz: he recently worked with Chastain on The Eyes of Tammy Faye, in which she played another Tammy, the famous televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.