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Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work (2010)

Joan Rivers , Melissa Rivers , Anne Sundberg , Ricki Stern  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)

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Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work + Joan Rivers: Don't Start With Me + Diary of a Mad Diva
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Jocelyn Pickett, Bill Sammeth
  • Directors: Anne Sundberg, Ricki Stern
  • Writers: Ricki Stern
  • Producers: Anne Sundberg, Ricki Stern, Charles Miller, Molly Abrams, Seth Keal
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: IFC Independent Film
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 2010
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00433KF1E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,903 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

One of the most critically and commercially successful word of mouth documentary hits in years, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work played and played for months in major cities around the country as audiences discovered the film and urged their friends to go see it. Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg (The End Of America) follow a year in the life of the trailblazing comic, covering her entire career (from that early break on Carson to heartbreak over the suicide of her husband and manager to Celebrity Apprentice) and her relentless desire to keep working (and working) with humor, empathy and of course more humor. Wickedly funny and surprisingly moving, it returns Rivers to the spotlight she so richly deserves and cements her reputation as one of stand-up's towering figures.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cathartic Comedy and Documentary - July 1, 2010
"Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" is thoroughly enjoying. She has always been outrageous and I knew what to expect. I got what I wanted - a time to laugh and cry and sometimes do both at the same time. Joan is not only a genius, but amazing in her drive and fantastic comedic timing. She thinks on her feet and not only has the guts to say what people keep deep into their psyches, she brazenly lets us look and laugh and not be afraid to peek at life's unfairness. Joan is a fascinating woman, who knows what she wants -she works constantly at 77, keeps herself on the go - I was tired watching her hectic schedule. Joan does not feel alive unless she is working - and she will work anywhere at anytime. Although she complained of not saving money for her old age, she makes plenty and spends it freely on herself and others. Her generosity to staff and thoughtful Thanksgiving dinner belie her unrelenting drive to support a lush lifestyle. She is a workaholic and has kept her brain from "rusting" out, but may "wear out" by constant travel, gigs, writing material, and never stopping trying new venues. Her plastic surgeries and botox injections are discussed as a matter of course and are part of the show business routine she accepts. At the beginning we see her without makeup, and as she is painted up and prepped it is amazing a 77 year old can look that good. She is not afraid to bare her feelings (she give background on leaving Johnny Carson show and her husband's suicide), her foibles (Am I a Diva? All comediennes are angry?) and keeps hacking away at "sacred cows" so we may laugh with her on life in blasphemous joy - it is nothing but cathartic.

Joan is exquisitely complex, smart (reads voraciously), honest, generous, kind and anything but ordinary. What a joy it is to see her full throttle on the big screen.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Human October 29, 2010
I've honestly never really been a fan of Joan Rivers. Although I love stand-up comedy, perhaps Joan's public persona as a plastic surgery cautionary tale, red carpet pest, and daytime talk show host had blinded me to her comedy accomplishments. I started to see her in a different light recently when I saw her roast on Comedy Central, which made me curious to check out this acclaimed documentary.

After seeing this film, it's hard not to like Joan. At 75, Joan Rivers has clearly gotten to the point in her life where she's no longer interested in apologizing for herself or trying to be anyone she's not. The film offers an honest portrait of a real woman who is made up of passions, flaws, idiosyncrasies, insecurities, relationships, emotions, and all of the other complicated, messy things of life. Joan comes across as ambitious, hardworking, frank, big-hearted, generous, passionate, and, of course, very funny. She also comes across as needy, vain, grasping, opportunistic, self-pitying, and self-absorbed. In a nutshell, she comes across as human.

Probably one of the most fascinating and insightful theories that the film perpetuated about Joan is that she is less a comedian than an actress playing the role of a comedian. Born without perhaps the beauty or sexual charisma to be a theatrical diva, Joan created her comedic persona in order to attain the attention, accolades, and ability to connect with an audience that she so clearly needed, and, at age 75, still needs.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joan is the real deal on and off camera. December 17, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Waited patiently for this movie on DVD as it was not in wide release in the Chicagoland area. It's a stunning personal look at a wonderful person, Joan Rivers. I saw her in the airport and in first class on my flight and she was witty, fun, posed for photos, and never once seemed put off by the attention. Not at all a diva, she exemplifies an ethos that is now forgotten: hard work at a craft you love will pay off, and the fans are to be relished, cherished and treated as human beings. Joan was this in real life, and her charm and sincere heart comes through in spades on this excellent documentary. Her insecurities about her looks, her lack of true male love in her life (she and Edgar were more of a business relationship as portrayed in this film), her geographic distance from her only child Melissa, and her tireless work ethic are sparking gems in this well-paced movie.

Before leaving the airport, we had a lay-over, and Joan shopped alone in some of the stores in the terminal, dressed to the nines, hair perfectly coiffed and absolutely charming and gracious to everyone from the shop clerk to the janitor waxing the floors. The DVD is inspirational for the way to treat others. Joan truly does practice this even off camera,

Thank you, Joan. You're not only a comedy icon, you are a deep and thoughtful person, and it's my pleasure to get to know you.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Woman To Admire September 4, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video
On this day of Joan River's death, take an hour to watch her documentary. It is a record of one year in her life . She shows us her true self, warts and all.

Much of what people say about Joan is about the calibre of her jokes. She often said what we wanted to but didn't dare. I liked her. Her staff loved her. In this documentary we see her staff. The man and his wife who took care of her home, her many assistants, her financial people, her hair person, her make-up lady and on and on. Her manager is no longer with her. Truthfully he looked a little sleazy. However, what mattered the most to Joan was her daughter, Melissa and her grandson, Cooper. They will miss her immeasurably. She was beloved by many of her peers, and her work stands for itself. This documentary will be an eye opener for many who did not know her. She is a woman not to be taken lightly.

This year in her life is a wonderful sight. What struck me was her work schedule. She hated an empty page, to her it meant no one loved her. A full page if events made her happy. Flying from coast to coast, and all the little places in-between. She came from a loving home, but as we all know her husband committed suicide, and this was an issue for her and her daughter, Melissa. However, her success meant a lot to many. She put many of her staff's children through private school. Who does that?

A friend said that he can see Joan Rivers and Robin Williams wherever they are, laughing uproariously over each other's dirty jokes. A wonderful memory.

Recommended. prisrob 09-04-14
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Was good to see the energy and intelligence of Joan Rivers
Very enjoyable. Was good to see the energy and intelligence of Joan Rivers, as well as knowing about her comedic talent.
Published 3 hours ago by Northwest Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Joan, and this doc let's you really examine ...
I love Joan, and this doc let's you really examine a side of her life that you may not have known about.
Published 2 days ago by Carmen T.
5.0 out of 5 stars She was a piece of work!
This was an excellent show. Felt closer to this great woman. Miss her so.....and of course I never met her.
Published 3 days ago by Lisa Burroughs
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Life of a Star
I wasn't disappointed! A wonderful, gritty, and true (Joan had no control over what was filmed), look into the wonderful, hard, and male dominated comedy world. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Diana L. Braun
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling documentary
I'm a big Joan Rivers fan. Her tragic death hit me hard as I've always admired Ms. Rivers for her strong work ethic, irreverent sense of humor and grand style. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Karen G
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Loved it wish Joan was still here with us. Alan in miami
Published 5 days ago by Alan H. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this movie and everything else joan did.
Published 7 days ago by Sharon D. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 8 days ago by Lorraine
4.0 out of 5 stars Not A Boring Documentary
Interesting and entertaining. If you liked Joan, then you will enjoy this.
Published 8 days ago by FabFiveOh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it!
Published 11 days ago by JeffM
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