When asked to do "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" the first words out of my mouth were, "Definitely not!" I could not imagine the hurt of going back over my turbulent life again. "YOU CAN'T GO FORWARD LOOKING IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR." What happened in life YESTERDAY is like a broken egg lying on the floor. It cannot be put back together again. It took Randy and Fenton, the producers of the film, weeks to finally talk me into doing the project with them. They were very honest with me right up front; "You will have no creative input, you will have to travel, we will come to your house and tape hours of interviews, and you will not see the movie until everyone else sees it, plus, you will receive no financial benefit from the film." WELL! . . . . . . .it was their honesty that finally got to me. I felt that if they were going to be that brutally honest up front, they would not crucify me. I felt they would do a fair and honest job. So, I finally said yes and for a year and a half we did not stop. Everywhere I went, they went and vice versa. There were times of joy, times of great sadness and, yes, times when I wanted to give it all up.
The completed film arrived at our home three days before the Sundance Film Festival. Not having any idea what in the world a Sundance Film Festival even was, I was shocked to hear that it was an honor to be selected to attend it. They told me that very few documentaries ever get that far. But now I was going to have to actually watch it . . . . . . . . .the final product of almost two years of hard work. I was literally SICK! I didn't know if my heart of emotions could take sitting down and watching my whole life pass before me on a TV screen. I did not know if Randy and Fenton and HBO – Cinemax had decided to take the high road or tear me apart and take the low road like so many others had done for so long. Finally, the day before we were to leave for the festival, my husband made me sit down and watch the documentary. The first five minutes were torture for me but, as it progressed, I knew it was going to be all right – NOT COMFORTABLE, but all right.
After crying my way through 72 minutes of my life all squashed down into a tiny television screen, I lay back on the couch and heaved a sigh of relief. It was over and I had survived! It was funny, it was sad, at times brutal, at times gentle. At times I felt that I was being poked fun at but I was in on the joke! All-in-all, even if the film was not about me, I would want to take time and go see it for the lessons it conveys. I think everyone, especially young people, should see it and realize that there is still life after tragedy and that the human spirit is strong and resilient.
I am grateful for the great reviews the movie is receiving: Two thumbs up, 3 and 4 stars, B+; those are just a few of the reviews I have seen. Please go see "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" and let me know what YOU think.