Ted Haggard gets up close and personal

Ted Haggard fell from grace two years ago, in a scandal that involved crystal meth and male prostitution: The evangelical firebrand was exiled from his church, and his severance package restricted him from discussing the scandal publicly. In the engrossing documentary The Trials of Ted Haggard (which airs on HBO next Thursday), he finally has his say.

The 41-minute film follows Haggard and his family as they build a new life, moving from “safe” houses to motels as Pastor Ted tries — and fails — to find work outside the church. Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (Nancy Pelosi’s daughter) gained Haggard’s trust while working on her 2007 film Friends of God, and his explanations and excuses flow like blood from a wound: The man comes across as wounded, damaged, confused, deluded, in crisis with his faith, and very, very human. Curiously, his trademark grin is still in place.

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