The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


When a character as vivacious and outgoing as Tammy Faye captures the spotlight of the media’s attention, it is easy to look past her humanity. Everyone is aware of Tammy Faye as a personality, but how many feel they really know her? Don’t you think it’s about time you cared?

Few Americans have had lives as intensely publicized, or have been so adored and reviled, as Tammy Faye Bakker Messner. Returning to Sundance with another expertly crafted and highly entertaining film, (their Party Monster played in American Spectrum two years ago), Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato chronicle her storybook life, full of tragedies and triumphs. They recount her rise, alongside husband Jim, to national fame as Christian television’s biggest stars. But it has not been all tears of joy for Tammy. Her world came crashing down in one of the century’s most inaccurately publicized scandals, polarizing Christians, destroying the PTL church, sending Jim to prison, and ultimately undoing their marriage and sending Tammy Faye into seclusion.

The pressures might have destroyed someone else, but the resilient Tammy Faye is back on her feet, full of new ideas to regain her place in the public’s heart. She is a woman of intense contradictions and unique style, a singer of great joy, and one of the most public weepers of all time. Bailey and Barbato do a phenomenal job of allowing Tammy to open up to the camera, creating a revealing portrait of a fascinating woman and a world full of shocking scandals,million-dollar lies, and funny puppets.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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