In the world of show business, if you’re not hot, you’re not. No one knows that better than Joan Rivers. At age 77, she’s still pounding the pavement in search of gigs. In the riveting new documentary, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” Rivers bares her soul, which lends vast insight into the psyche of a woman whose life is her work.
In the film’s opening shot, the camera is severely focused on Rivers’ face sans makeup. It sets the tone for what lies ahead: brutal honesty. Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg follow the iconic comedian for 14 months and document her maniacal quest to succeed. What surprised me most about Rivers was her immensely fragile sense of self worth. Her caustic humor belies an addiction for acceptance.
It’s all about survival for Rivers. Whether it’s working in dingy clubs and reservation casinos, promoting Home Shopping Network jewelry and even serving as a spokesperson for reproductive-organ enlarging pills — she craves the exposure.
The carefully calibrated combination of comedy and tragedy make “A Piece of Work” hugely watchable. The suicide of Rivers’ husband and Johnny Carson’s blacklisting her from NBC were emotionally devastating for the comedian, but she never backed down. In one scene at a Midwest casino, Rivers hilariously puts a heckler in his place. Backstage, she expresses a profound sadness for the man’s plight.
And that’s what I loved about this film. It demonstrates that the multi-faceted, multi-talented Rivers is more than just an aging plastic surgery junkie (to which she admits). Rivers is a survivor with a gift she chooses to share with the world no matter how painful the process. Whether you love or loathe her, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” entertains, enlightens and edifies.
— Pam Nadon
Currently 0 Responses
2 SPIRIT VOICES FROM OLD MANATEE - Season IV
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
5 Fall Music Series
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
6 Fuzion Dance Artists Behind the Curtain with Larry Keigwin of Keigwin + Company
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
7 The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota & The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Present Public Art & Backstage Tours
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Ashlynn Martin put her "paws" to action
Ashlynn Martin’s dance-a-thon fundraiser Sept. 7, at Jump Dance Co., benefitting Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue and its Lexi’s Paw Pals program, welcomed more than 60 participants.
Honor seeks home for Petey
A 1-year-old hound dog named Petey has been waiting to find a new home for more than 6 months at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue.
Vitale accepts donation
Lakewood Ranch resident and ESPN Hall-of-Famer Dick Vitale on Sept. 9 received a $85,000 donation for the fight against cancer from Craig and JoEllen Mettille, of 380 Cos.