Saw the new Joan Rivers* documentary A Piece of Work.
It’s pretty great. I get the sense that the directors really struggled with inserting some kind of narrative arc or a sense of chronology. Because Joan Rivers seems to be the type of person who’s oblivious to the architecture behind art–it’s like, I have this great character, isn’t that enough?
So I thought structurally the film failed a bit (i.e., nothing happens), but Joan Rivers allows herself to be so vulnerable that it’s worth the watch. My favorite part is a scene in which the 75-year-old woman crouches on her bathroom floor, scrawling large-print jokes on poster board: Vigina Fart (sic), she writes, and laughs hysterically.
I won’t lie, I laughed too, hard enough to choke a little bit on my chocolate almonds.
The darker corners of her life (her husband’s suicide, the devastatingly low self-esteem that led to so many plastic surgeries, her failure to book solid gigs after 50 years in the business) are mostly glossed over and made over into punchlines. So if you’re seeking some deeper insight into the woman that is Joan Rivers, this movie is not it.
If you like Vigina Farts–my goodness, you are in for a treat.
*I’m using “Joan Rivers” as an adjective there, see. Because the alternative is “Joan Rivers’s new documentary,” and that would insinuate she was directed it, which she didn’t. Try using “Joan Rivers” as an adjective today. Feels empowering, doesn’t it?