First Hit: Although a fascinating personality and interesting story, in the end I felt sad about Joan and the life she chose.
I’ve watched Joan from when she was first introduced on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I thought she was funny, a bit neurotic, but having enough talent to be someone who would last a long time in show business.
Over the years I disliked her acerbic put downs of other stars and performers, but supposedly that is her shtick. I also felt that her immersion in cosmetic surgery was a reflection of her unwillingness to meet life as it is. However, Joan has continued to push on with her chosen path and this film gives the view of a one year ride into her life. It starts with the lamenting about how blank her business/performance calendar is.
She judges her life and success by how much she is wanted by others. She says multiple times she will do anything for money and I interpreted this as she will do anything to not have to stay home with herself, she has enough money.
During the year we see her embrace Thanksgiving, the failure of a play she writes and stars in, the continued revisiting and sadness surrounding her husband Edgar’s suicide, dismissing her long time Manager, winning The Apprentice competition and her back to living with a full working calendar.
There were times the film felt like we were watching the last gasps of a little old lady reaching for the next steps of an elusive ladder of success, and other times it felt as if you’re on the trail with a force of nature.
Gratefully there were also sprinkling’s of Joan’s comedic geniuses with wonderful direct poignant one liners which seemed to tie the whole thing together.
Joan is Joan and you take her or leave her as she is, she isn’t a phony and she isn’t about to give you a fake version of her life although she has had a lot of surgery. The directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg did a wonderful job of piecing the various components of Joan’s life together into this film.
Overall: Very entertaining and telling film about Joan Rivers.