Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) Directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg. With Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers.

Joan Rivers never says no to anything. That’s the overall feeling you’re left with after witnessing this documentary glimpse into the seventy-fifth year of a remarkable life. Showing not the faintest sign of slowing down, the Rivers of today is depicted as a woman with extravagant taste who’s at her happiest with a full diary of work to fill up a busy day. Commendably, what this film also shows are the vulnerabilities that often go undocumented with high profile personalities like hers. Rivers’ fear of a bad review, or the sudden burst of anger toward a heckler striking a raw nerve paint a picture of a woman constantly fighting fires in her life while going off and looking to start some of her own. The film covers her rise to prominence on ‘The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson Show’ and her fall from grace after leaving it.

While it never dwells on the choices she’s made in terms of her appearance and her plastic surgery, the film is all the better for it choosing instead to attempt more of a personal insight into what makes this impressive woman tick. Snippets of her biting stand-up routines offer laughs around the unveiling and sadness of some of her more personal experiences and the lasting impression is one of admiration towards the work ethic and hard-nosed refusal to accept rejection amid an often changing world to which she cleverly adapts and manages to fit in. Go Joan. 4/5

About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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1 Response to Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. Lloyd Marken says:

    Yep I was really impressed by this film. One of my favourite reviews of Roger Ebert later in life was the one he did of this which got me really interested in it. Your review is a really neat summation of what makes this movie work and how Joan comes across. When she passed my friends and I discussed how we didn’t always enjoy her humour but we respected it. Given how painful her husband’s suicide was it takes remarkable grit to go out and make the paper bag joke. Joan Rivers what a personality.

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