A documentary look, mostly through the eyes of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, at her rise and fall as a popular televangelist with husband Jim Bakker. Traces their rise: her teen marriage to ... See full summary »
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A documentary look, mostly through the eyes of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, at her rise and fall as a popular televangelist with husband Jim Bakker. Traces their rise: her teen marriage to Jim; their children's TV show (she was a puppeteer and singer), success founding the 700 Club, co-founding the Trinity Broadcast Network, and starting PTL Network; her nondenominational version of Christianity reaching out to all; and, their building of Heritage USA, a theme park. Things fall apart as money woes mount for Heritage and for Jim, as Tammy takes pills, and as Jerry Falwell takes PTL. Jim goes to prison; she remarries, finds herself alone again, yet remains unsinkable. Written by
The recent and untimely death of Tammy Faye was both unfortunate and sad. Whatever faults and foibles she may have had, she was an inspiration to millions of down-home folks, a person who seemed genuinely loving, someone who wanted to reach out and hug everyone she met. There are very few religious fundamentalist leaders whom I would describe in those favorable terms.
"The Eyes Of Tammy Faye", a documentary about the little lady with the big eyelashes, the running mascara, and the child like voice, likewise presents a woman who was sincere, surprisingly intelligent, energetic, persevering, and of course ... emotional. It's a worthwhile film to watch.
In the film she describes herself as "a small town girl, at heart", ironic, given the opulent lifestyle she led with former hubby Jim Bakker, during the heyday of their electronic church empire in the 1980s. Much of the film covers her view of that era; and she has words that are none too flattering about the oily Jerry Falwell, a view that is almost certainly justified.
One of the traits about Tammy Faye that I liked was her genuine compassion for unpopular people and causes, especially gays. In the film she makes it clear that she does not morally judge others. "I don't label people ... We're all just people, made out of the same old dirt; and God didn't make any junk". How many other fundamentalist leaders have that kind of heart and soul?
Through all the heartache and suffering in her life, she maintained a good outlook. "You cannot go forward looking in the rearview mirror of your life; just drop it all, and move on; it's the only way in life that you'll ever find peace, joy, and victory". Wise words indeed.
She was a one-of-a kind person, someone unique in popular culture. She will be remembered for that reason. Yet, underneath all the gobs of makeup, and quite aside from her flair for showmanship, she was a person of humanity, love, and compassion, and as such, a credit to the human race.
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