There’s an old saying to be leery of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and that’s the message conveyed in the new film, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
The movie gives audience members a look at televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who rose to popularity in the 1970s and 1980s through their religious broadcasts on the Praise the Lord television network. The film chronicles their lives from their early beginning traveling the backroads to their downfall. It shows how they used people to fund not missions to spread the gospel, but their lavish lifestyle.
Watching “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” made me sick to my stomach as it depicted how the Bakkers spread their false teaching of wealth and prosperity to millions across the globe. I was saddened by the people taken in by these two con artists and their slick presentation. The worst part is this practice is still going on today and, as a Christian, it deeply troubles me that people use the Bible as a marketing tool to make a quick buck. I don’t recall reading Jesus riding in a golden chariot to help out people in need.
While “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” does a good job of showing the Bakkers’ hypocrisy, as a film it does fall short. It’s not a documentary in the least, and if you have that impression, you will be sadly mistaken.
One of the big issues I have with the movie is its portrayal of Tammy Faye. At times she’s shown as a victim who was duped by Jim Bakker. While I think that’s true to a degree, I think she was just as culpable as Jim Bakker for preying on people who are spiritually and emotionally vulnerable.
Filmmakers gave audiences the image of Tammy Faye as a loveable and absent-minded country bumpkin who drank Diet Coke, had funky hairdos, and wore a ton of makeup. This representation is insulting to the people she and her ex-husband exploited for their personal wealth.
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” is a very entertaining movie, but that is all it is, entertaining. This movie is not to be confused with a documentary of the same title that came out in 2000. I give it seven out of 10 stars.
It is rated PG-13 for some sexual content and runs 119 minutes. The film is playing at the Angelika Film Center, located at 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane in Dallas.