Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (USA; 84 min.)

directed by: Ricki Stern; Anne Sundberg
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Beth Caldwell says: "This was a very interesting documentary. When I went into the film I had heard it was a good documentary, but I was less than enthused because I don’t really like Joan Rivers. I didn’t think she’d be that interesting a subject. I was certainly wrong about that. She is an extraordinarily interesting person. I was surprised to be so taken in by the uniqueness of her being. She’s a living caricature of herself and she knows it! I even have to admit I enjoyed the stand-up comedy they chose for the film. She’s funnier than I remember when I saw her on the Tonight Show so many years ago. 4 cats"

Thom responds: "I couldn't have been more pleased with your review. I gave this film the same rating you did and all you said applied to my attitude to seeing the film as well. I went because it was chosen by my companions and came away with remarkable respect for this hard-working & fascinating woman."

Toni P. responds: "Agreed. Fascinating woman seen as non-exploitative and strong doc. While have not lived her life, we can connect, laugh, cry, and learn something, too. 5 cats"

Chris says: "A year in the life of everyone’s favorite bawdy Jewish comedienne and plastic surgery punchline, it sets out to prove she’s more than that.  Blessed with a desirable arc that follows Rivers from a low point in her career to renewed fame and visibility following her winning 'The Celebrity Apprentice', the film mixes in clips from throughout her career (stretching back to early, electric appearances on 'The Ed Sullivan Show') and threads in pieces of a recent stand-up performance at an intimate club.  At 75, she’s as bitingly hilarious and risqué as ever, but we catch fleeting, telling glimpses of another persona—an insecure workaholic deathly afraid of becoming irrelevant, sensitive about subjecting herself to a Comedy Central roast and expressing frustration at her reputation as a brilliant comedienne but not a great actress.  One may find it hard to muster up sympathy for such plaints given her continued success, but the film gains momentum and purpose by exploring how much her ability to work and keep pushing herself is a life force: you feel it’s as essential to her as breathing.  4 cats"