Movie Review: ‘Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work’

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 12:00 am.

Summary: A year in the life of the legendary comedian Joan Rivers.

Review: Many things come to mind when thinking of Joan Rivers: comedy icon, plastic surgery freak and, whether or not you want to admit it — legend. Her revealing documentary shows that Joan Rivers is a true hustler. She turns down no gig, no matter the cost and would rather work hard and live luxuriously versus enjoying her twilight years and resting. At the time of the documentary Rivers is 75 years-old, loves show business and she is never going to let it go.

Nowadays, documentaries can come across like reality television, but directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg elevates Joan’s life story to the polish and sophistication she deserves—but still with the humor. The doc treks back to her career, starting in the 60s, Johnny Carson saying she would be a star and later turning on her, her husband’s suicide, plastic surgery and still struggling to get jobs.

What’s shocking is, as ballsy as Rivers seems the critics still to get to her. She wants to be loved and she is hurt that she doesn’t get the respect she deserves in the industry. You see her crying over bad reviews of a potential Broadway. She says she isn’t as funny as other comics and admits Kathy Griffin is taking all of her gigs. Overall, the viewer sees a sensitive side of Joan, she lives in her truth, even saying, “No one has ever called me beautiful.”

Joan Rivers’ story is an inspiration, regardless of your background. If there is anyone who is aspiring to be in the entertainment industry, this is the documentary to watch. Joan Rivers’ life is the blueprint for any artist—rapper, actor, or musician. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is the best documentary of 2010.

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