Everything omitted or changed


That Tammy Faye’s eyes true story tells the story of the controversial TV writer Tammy Faye Bakker, but as with any biopic, there are some changes in the historical record. Many of the film’s most dramatic details, such as Tammy’s permanent makeup done through tattoos or the scandal that toppled the PTL ministry, took place in real life. However, Tammy Faye’s eyes skips details of PTL’s origins, changes or omits information about Bakkers’ affairs, changes the chronology of events, and omits Tammy Faye’s later life.

Tammy Faye’s eyes has Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker and Andrew Garfield as her husband Jim as they rise through the Christian television world. Jim and Tammy were two of the biggest stars below the top of Christian television and surpassed figures like Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell who also appear during the film. Tammy Faye’s eyes received mixed reviewsbut Chastain’s performance received a major award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the film was nominated for two Oscars.

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Bakkers’ Praise the Lord (PTL) network and ministry raised millions of dollars and avoided some of the neoconservative cultural policies that added much to the rest of televangelism. As depicted in Tommy’s eyes Faye, Tammy Faye even did a sympathetic interview with a gay minister with HIV in the air. But a study from Charlotte Observer revealed that a large portion of the money raised had fraudulently gone to fund Bakkers’ lavish lifestyle, in addition to a silent payment to Jessica Hahn, who accused Jim of sexual assault. The scandal resulted in the termination of PTL and the Heritage USA Christian theme park. Tammy Faye’s eyes presents these events largely faithfully, but changes and omits more details.


Eyes of Tammy Faye is based on a documentary


Tammy Faye's eyes

Before you dive into how Tammy Faye’s eyes changing the true story, it is important to note that the biopic is not only based on real people and events, but also a documentary of the same name made in 2000. Tammy Faye’s eyesdirected by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato and narrated by none other than the named host of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is read almost as a release by Tammy Faye, emphasizing her ignorance of Jim Baker’s actions, her true faith, and her uncommon support for the LGBTQ + community in the 1980s. While this is not exactly a revisionist story about Tammy Faye’s life, Tammy Faye’s eyes transforms some aspects and sets out to paint his subject in a flattering light. As the biopic is closely based on the documentary, the same agenda is evident in the various facts omitted or changed from real life in 2021’s Tammy Faye’s eyes.


Tammy Faye’s missing car incident is largely invented


One of Tommy’s eyes Faye‘s more unusual parts is an apparent foresight event where Jim and Tammy’s Cadillac disappear while on the road. This leads them to talk to their motel neighbors, who introduce them to Jerry Falwell and get them started on TV. This did not happen in real life. The Bakkers family had a car accident in Virginia in which the trailer, they towed, escaped and crashed, damaging the Cadillac. When Jim described their situation in his sermons, a couple from Charlotte offered to give them a new car, but they could not agree on the model. Like Tammy Fayes makeup, the smart car was a symbol of the wealth that the hills claimed was possible under God. Jim and Tommy’s start at Pat Robertson’s CBN was not related to any missing car.


The second network of the hills has been cut out


Tammy Faye’s eyes jumps directly from Jim and Tammy leaving CBN for the emergence of their own network, PTL. But in real life, the couple worked on another network in between, the California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network. That was where they developed praise the Lord talk show. After just eight months, however, Bakkers fell out with Paul and Jan Crouch, the co-founders of TBN, and left to create PTL. This part of the life of the hills was probably omitted Tammy Faye’s eyes to create a more even narrative.

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The Affairs of the Hills Are Changing


Tammy Faye’s eyes depicts an emotional affair between Jessica Chastains Tammy Faye Bakker and record producer Gary Paxton, played by Mark Wystrach. In the film, their connection culminates in an insane make-out session that is only interrupted by a pregnant Tammy Faye’s water that breaks. The real Tammy Faye worked with Paxton, and his wife Karen has said that Tammy was in love with Gary, but it was completely one-sided. The confrontation in the hospital room was invented for the film, but Jim thought Tammy was having an affair with Paxton, and forbade him to work with PTL again. So there are conflicting accounts of whether this affair happened in real life, and it probably did not happen in the dramatic way depicted in Tammy Faye’s eyes.

Jim Bakker, played by Andrew Garfieldalso was accused of infidelity and worse. Tammy Faye’s eyes refers to Jessica Hahn, the woman in question, but does not go into depth with her story. Hahn, who was 21 at the time, claimed she was “set up” by another preacher who sent her to Jim Baker’s hotel room, where she was expected to provide sexual services reminiscent of the contemporary #MeToo movement. Tammy Faye would later publicly reconcile with Hahn.

Jerry Falwell also used rumors that Jim had gay affairs to expel him from PTL, as depicted in Tammy Faye’s eyes. But while Falwell’s use of these claims drew on the homophobia of the 1980s evangelical movement, they were not unfounded. John Wesley Fletcher, played with Tammy Faye’s eyes by Louis Cancelmi as Richard Fletcher, said he had a sexual relationship with Bakker. In another #MeToo parallel, several other men who worked with Jim accused him of unwanted sexual advances. Jim Bakker has denied any sexual activity with other men.

Tammy Faye remarried after leaving Jim Bakker


Andrew Garfield and Jessica Chastain The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Although never mentioned in Tammy Faye’s eyes, the real Tammy had another husband after Jim Bakker. Tammy divorced Jim Bakker in 1992 during the five years in prison he served, and then married real estate developer Roe Messner in 1993. Messner is a construction contractor who has built over a thousand churches and mega-churches, and he appears briefly in Tammy Faye’s eyes as a consultant on Bakers Heritage USA theme park project, played by Sam Jaeger (recognizable as Mark Tuello from The waitress’ story). The real Roe Messner was also involved in PTL’s business affairs and the cover-up of the Jessica Hahn scandal. Messner himself was later convicted of bankruptcy fraud and served 27 months in prison. Most likely, Tammy and Messner’s marriage is not included Tammy Faye’s eyes to streamline the ending.


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Eyes of Tammy Faye changes the chronology of her life


Jessica Chastain in Tammy Faye's eyes

While most of the events are depicted in Tammy Faye’s eyes really happened, the film plays fast and loosely with the sequence of events. For example, the birth of Tammy’s second child is depicted as happening after a montage of PTL that grew through the 1970s, and a scene in which Jim assumes responsibility for the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. But in real life, Tammy’s son born in 1975. Jessica Chastain’s amazing performance in Tammy Faye’s eyes also depicts Tammy’s interview with gay minister Steven Pieters just after Jerry Fallwell discussed an election campaign for George HW Bush, which would have been unlikely given that the interview took place in 1985. Biopics such as Tammy Faye’s eyes often makes changes like this to create a more dramatic narrative.

Tammy Faye’s later life


Tammy Faye’s eyes ends in 1994, when Tammy performs at Oral Roberts University, and gives only a brief description of her later years in the final credits. Tammy Faye occasionally appeared in popular culture and played Mimi’s mother on Drew Carey Show and be a part of the second season of The surreal life along with celebrities like Vanilla Ice and Erik Estrada. Her accepting attitude towards the LGBT community led her to become a queer cultural icon, hence her attachment to RuPaul’s Drag Race. Tammy was even sometimes called “the original drag queen” for her over-the-top makeup and presentation of femininity.


Tammy Faye Messner, as she became known after her second marriage, had a well-publicized 11-year battle with cancer. She died on July 20, 2007. Tammy Faye appeared on Larry King Live just two days before her death, as a kind of farewell to her fans. Tammy Faye’s eyes does not tell the whole story of Tammy Faye’s life, but helps to illuminate a fascinating and complicated figure.

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