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Penetrating Rivers' coarse image, this compelling documentary offers an honest, behind-the-scenes look at her career -- and at show business in general. Read critic reviews

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Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work Photos

Movie Info

This revealing documentary follows the life and career of Joan Rivers, a veteran comedienne arguably more known for her extensive plastic surgery than for her talent. The film explores her early years in the comedy industry and touches on her longtime professional relationship with Johnny Carson, who is one of many celebrities featured, along with George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, Kathy Griffin and Rivers' own daughter and frequent screen partner, Melissa Rivers.

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Critic Reviews for Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

All Critics (109) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (100) | Rotten (9)

  • A Piece of Work is a refreshing look at a reluctant legend, one who's still using all her might to break barriers for the rest of us to get a real kick out of.

    September 9, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • You will leave this film remembering that Joan Rivers is one very funny woman (albeit a vulgar one). You will also see her as a woman of great strength, a true show biz survivor.

    June 12, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    January 22, 2013 | Rating: F | Full Review…
  • This behind the scenes, behind the makeup, behind the plastic surgery documentary catches Rivers hard at work, ridiculously hard at work.

    August 23, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • If you think it's going to be as hilarious as a Joan Rivers standup routine, you're wrong. The self-mocking jokes are funny, but almost make you feel guilty for laughing.

    August 13, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The new documentary on Joan Rivers is so in your face, so fraught with harrowing, oversized personal stuff, you might want to get a theatre seat a couple of rows behind where you normally sit, to safely take it all in.

    August 13, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

  • Oct 08, 2014
    In the wake of Joan Rivers' death, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding her legacy. Whether people are furious over her sometimes racist, misogynist, transphobic jokes, or happy to sing her praises for opening doors for female comedians, Joan Rivers has been a lot of things for a lot of people. This very eye opening and vulnerable portrayal of the comedy legend really leaves a lasting impression on you. While I didn't think the woman was completely invulnerable, I was unprepared for the stark contrast between her onstage persona and the woman seen in this documentary. Joan Rivers was giving, sweet hearted, and incredibly inappropriate in the best of ways. She took on a lot of stigma from her critics, she cared far too much about what people thought of her, and she was strong in the face of adversity and loss. As an entertainer, many people knew her and what she accomplished in life, but as a person no one really knew Joan like the people around her. This is a very good watch for those mourning, or who want to know the real Rivers, under the guise she donned.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2014
    A very compelling documentary that takes a good look at one year in the life of a workaholic diva of yore who was born to be in the spotlight, and it proves to be quite revealing not only about her need of stardom and recognition but also about show business itself.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 07, 2014
    It's not for everyone. If being in show business appeals to you, this is a MUST see. One reviewer called this an "unvarnished documentary." That's exactly right. She was a very hard worker, and it becomes impossible not to respect her drive, her talent, and her humanity by the end of it. This movie is rated R for language, and it should be. There are lots of "I can't believe you just said that" moments in this film. And yes, most of it is really funny. The exchange with a heckler and her later reaction is worth the film.
    Morris N Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2013
    Whether or not you like Rivers, you'll end up respecting her tenacity.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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