Rated R · 84 minutes · 2010

Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg spent a year following Joan Rivers around, from her ostentatious, gold-plated apartment, to little stand-up shows in the Midwest, to tiny nightclubs peopled by elderly fans, to her stage show in England—and mostly into her strange and needy soul. They portray a woman obsessed by fame and success, who feels she hasn’t gotten the recognition she deserves, and who lives in a series of resentments. Her attitude toward her husband, who committed suicide, is perhaps most telling: She says that he abandoned her and left her with debt, and that he was a bad businessman. And yet, in spite of her shallowness, and maybe because of her insecurity, she comes off as tremendously human. It’s an interesting balancing act: The directors understand that Rivers is vaguely despicable, but they explain why a woman of her generation, entering a world ruled by men, could probably only survive with the kind of inhuman drive that made Rivers famous, beloved, hated and the butt of an endless series of jokes.

See our full review: Her Real Self

Her Real Self

Joan Rivers comes off as monstrous, yet talented and charming in 'A Piece of Work' »

Director: Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg


Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work


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What others are saying (3)

Portland Mercury More Than a Red Carpet Harpy Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work gives Rivers' image a much-needed facelift. by Alison Hallett 06/24/2010
The Coast Halifax Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work takes the mask off the fame monster And reveals that there is no mask---it's all the crackling, crass comedienne you see onstage. by Matt Semansky 09/30/2010
Indy Week A lively year with Joan Rivers in A Piece of Work A verité-style portrait of Rivers with plenty of momentum due to the way its quick-witted, light-on-her feet subject keeps the action and the camera moving by Nathan Gelgud 06/30/2010

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