Monday, June 13, 2011

Netflix Movie Monday - 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye'

And a very happy Monday to one and all!  Today is the day of the week when I review a movie I have found streaming on Netflix that inspired, interested, or entertained me in some way.  This week's movie is a documentary that I took a chance on, driven by the same morbid curiosity that makes everyone slow down and rubberneck when there's an accident on the freeway.

This 2000 Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee documents the life of Tammy Faye Bakker, following her rise to near cult-icon status, and then her husband's adulterous affair and the subsequent collapse of their television network empire.  I chose this movie initially because, being in mostly Christian circles my entire life, I have heard the names 'Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker', but am too young to have personal knowledge of them.  I was curious.  The other thing that got me to click 'play' was the fact that RuPaul narrates the movie.  That's right, the drag queen.  Odd choice for a movie about a bunch of church folks, so I thought.

Liberally peppered with interviews from Tammy Faye herself, this film is a fascinatingly personal look into the life of a woman who has lived most of her adult life in the public eye.  I have to admit that I went into this movie with some pretty heavy, preconceived judgements about Tammy Faye.  What I discovered was that she is a loving, caring, simple, and openhearted woman with serious grit and resiliency.

Tammy Faye and her husband Jim basically pioneered Christian broadcasting, birthing the so-called 'electronic church'.  They were on the ground floor of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the PTL Club.  Jim was the first anchor of 700 Club.  Tammy Faye was the creative force behind many Christian children's shows, and released scores of praise albums.  'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' also gives a candid look at Tammy Faye's version of her husband's affair, trial and convictions of fraud and conspiracy.

Although campy and bizarre at times (like Tammy Faye herself!), this film is sure to entertain, and will leave you with a new understanding of the woman behind the make-up.

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