Never one to shy away from telling people how she really feels, we have been watching Joan Rivers speak the truth, or at least her version of the truth, for years on various television programs. Now we have a documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work chronicling the life and career of one of America’s most loud-mouthed icons. This documentary sheds a like on the vulnerable side of the usually ruthless comedian as well as showing that there is absolutely NOTHING she won’t do for money…

The Players:

  • Directors: Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg
  • Producers: Seth Keal, Ricki Stern, Anne Sundberg
  • Features: Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Emily Kosloski, Don Rickles
  • Cinematography by: Charles Miller, Guy Mossman
  • Music by: Paul Brill

The Good:

  • Comedic: Not only did I never really realize or appreciate how hilarious Joan Rivers actually was and still it, but the movie itself has a great sense of humor. There is more laughs in this than most comedies in theaters today.
  • Pacing: The film is very well paced and organized. There was truly never a dull moment, every moment on screen deserved to be there and had a purpose. The pacing is much like Joan’s life, face paced, never stops for anything unless it’s to try and make you laugh.
  • Heartfelt: What a surprise! Of course you expect a documentary to try to show the vulnerable side of someone, but I never expected such a seemingly shallow woman to have so much depth and darkness. The woman is driven by so much tragedy and anger in her life it’s understandable that she had to find comedy as her release otherwise she might kill herself.
  • Fascinating: She’s so depressed, scared, neurotic, smart, and extremely quick that you kind of love her and yet she’s so narcissist that you can’t stand her. She’s a complete paradox and she sucks you in like the Bermuda Triangle.
  • The Openness: The way she talks about her plastic surgery and how she’s never been called “beautiful” to the way she tells off a man in the audience for not being able to understand that you have to be able to laugh at the tragedies in life, there is something very honest and open to the way that Joan talks about her life that makes you understand her and at times even side with her.

The Bad:

  • One-Sided: The whole thing does appear to be slightly one-sided, after all it’s Joan’s view of the world (and what an odd world that is). One of the most honest moments is when Melissa starts to reveal more about how her mother and how she will say one thing and do another but she never explains what she means and it seems like there might be something more there that was left untouched.
  • Not Hugely Climatic: Which is funny considering the last line of the credits!


Joan River’s is an absolutely fascinating creature to watch. This not just a great documentary but one of the most interesting films I’ve seen this year. It’s well thought out, well put together, it’s surprisingly heartfelt and yet absolutely vain and hilarious – it’s just like Joan!

Rating: 8.75/10

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work hits theaters on June 11th!


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