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Eyes of Tammy Faye, The

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 08/07/00 07:06:08

"ten times more fun than 'Where are They Now'"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Even though I, along with the audience, sniggled at the spectacle at its most bizarre or corny, I was totally swept up in the drama of Tammy Faye's life and walked away feeling as if she was more human and less cartoon than I previously believed. Her side of the story, along with moments of Jim Bakker's commentary, is more interesting than how it played out in the media. This is Tammy Faye's opportunity to show the side of herself that was silenced in the tabloid blood frenzy in the wake of the Bakker scandal.

The story of televangelism is told along with Tammy Faye's story because she, along with her ex-husband, Jim Bakker, invented televangelism. Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell are portrayed as manipulative, lying, hateful, hypocrites. But we already knew that. The bitchslaps in this case were worth hundreds of millions of dollars, heaping spoonfuls of powerful influence and completely ruined lives.

Televangelism may be one big show of smoke and mirrors worth millions, but its players and their influence is scarier than Tammy Faye's makeup. One thing this documentary exposes is that the Bakkers were not exceptional. They just got caught. Other televangelists who wanted what they had seized the moment to steal assets and power. Presumably in the name of all that is holy.

Jessican Hahn, naked, with a cross clutched between praying hands and saying "we have seen the Lord do his justice", makes the whole story even more ironic. Like all bids for power in a political arena, the hits are low and hard and often don't hold any more weight than how they can be milked to defame the target.

There are some unintentionally funny moments in this film at Tammy Faye's expense. Never do the film makers attempt to ridicule Tammy Faye or make this documentary one big winky-winky joke. Its a serious work about a very interesting woman. Serious in a fun way.

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