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By Chris Gore | January 26, 2000

Her trademark is her long eye lashes, but when most people think about Tammy Faye (formerly Bakker) their impression is not a pleasant one. In fact, most people, without even meeting her, somehow despise this woman. The media painted her as a money-grubbing woman who conned devout Christians out of tens of millions of dollars to support the PTL. That negative view of Tammy Faye is about to radically change with the debut of “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” a documentary by directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. This entertaining documentary pulls no punches as it follows the career of the Tammy Faye starting with her clandestine meeting of Jim Bakker to their first television show in the 60s, which was a children’s Christian puppet show, to the doomed PTL organization. PTL, or Praise The Lord as it was known, was the only Christian satellite broadcasting company back in the age of the Bakkers. Their fall from grace over financial mismanagement was well documented in the 1980s, and here this doc pulls no punches showing every misstep the Bakkers took. What we see for the first time is the human cost of the tragic course of events. Yes, we see a side of Tammy we never knew and it’s hard not to admire her positive attitude. One would think that the filmmakers Bailey and Barbato, who are both Gay, would be repulsed by subject matter involving a right wing Christian group. However many forget that before Reagan or even the mainstream media even spoke the word AIDS, Tammy Faye was consoling victims of the disease on her show in 1982. This is years before the Hollywood bandwagon made it fashionable. As a matter of fact, PTL and Tammy Faye were the only Christian group to embrace Gays and bring them into the fold.
At the premiere screening Tammy received a standing ovation as she tearfully got up and offered motivational words about never giving up. “Don’t ever stop. Don’t ever let anyone tell you to give up. Believe in yourself, I always have.” Truer words could not have been spoken to the throngs of struggling filmmakers who came out to see her film.

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