Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind

7.11 h 40 min202016+
Actress Natalie Wood's personal life and illustrious career are intimately explored in this documentary.
Laurent Bouzereau
Alan NierobCourtney WagnerDouglas Trumbull
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Elliott GouldGeorge HamiltonGeorge SegalKatie WagnerLiz ApplegateMart CrowleyMia FarrowPeter HyamsRichard GregsonRobert RedfordRobert WagnerSarah Gregson
Laurent BouzereauManoah BowmanNatasha Gregson Wagner
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4.6 out of 5 stars

151 global ratings

  1. 76% of reviews have 5 stars
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  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
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killprettyReviewed in the United States on May 29, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Family tribute more than a documentary
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I was expecting more of a documentary. This is a touching family portrait of a loved one lost. One sided I'd say. This is very much a portrayal of a loved one with a very ambiguous(at times) narrative. Her eldest daughter seems to have made this. They leave out soo much. You can see how the villians of the story are set up by commentary of close friends and industry folk before it's solidified at the end of the film. This film was set up to kill some infamous rumors and gossip. I'm not sure they did.

Natalie wood and her passing was enigmatic.
In her career She was very in control as she came into her own in the 60s . They show that. This shows insight into her film choices and how she changed things a bit. But it felt like only those in favor of the storyline were included. So it leaves a bit of storytelling taste in the mouth verse real life. I didn't learn anything new on that end.
How they set up her life and how it ended, I actually came away with a different sense then what they were aiming for I think.
At her end it seemed like her marriage was in the same place it was the first time it ended. Not that it was going to necessarily end. But that she was working and possibly about to eclipse her hubby again on screen. The second time they got together, she wasn't really working as much and was more of the wife and mother that rj wanted. He was finally making that hollywood success. Also the parties and glamour seem to all come with Natalie.
I think her work ethic brought all the tension and insecurities back from so long ago. And a fear of just maybe she would leave again because working would pull them apart... No one knows if it would have but it was clear her working alot wasn't wanted or appreciated at that moment in time. That seemed to be clear with the argument on the boat that the husband speaks of. His mannerisms and recall of that event seem uneasy. It was painful to watch as her eldest daughter is the interviewer in full support of her stepdad. To say he was so angry he broke bottles and followed Chris Walken around the boat to continue the argument but that he wouldn't have lost his temper with his now diseased wife is just so far fathomed. However instead of divorce that would separate them again it was death. But a seperation none the less. Tragic. I'm not speculating on if this was murder or an accident. But it seems the tension and the arguments from those last days was definitely the catalyst for her death.
And then with such a strange and tragic sudden loss....well with such a loss you would think dating was off the calendar. No my dear. That's right. This grief stricken husband starts dating( or reignites an on and off again long term affair) a fellow actress he had know since the 50s and whom was known for her very long plethora of wealthy suitors. How did this love affair come about at such a tragic time?... Well as she is also featured in the film she states she came by to pay her respects for the untimely death of Natalie ( read... New eligible bachelor of Hollywood royalty available for marriage) and it blossoms from there. Literally just a couple months after his wife's death they are an official item. But this film leaves out alot of those little details that makes you pause and think. Because this is not what it was about. This is about telling the story of a wife and mother who was a movie star and remembered as such by her family. They want you to believe as much as they want to believe what is being said. I wasn't convinced. I was disappointed I had watched this to be honest. A better description of what this is about would help.

My take away. The loss of a mother is just devastating at any age but especially at the young ages of her girls. It was hard to see the pain it left on her children, even as adults. That is what stuck with me during and after watching this. Her babies she loved so much. Having to endure pain from her loss. More then any heart can take. She wanted to be there for them. Always.
20 people found this helpful
John61Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Hollywood Tribute
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This was a lovely tribute to Natalie Wood. However, it was also unsettling to watch Robert Wagner as he described the night she died. He emphasized, several times, that he and Christopher Walken had argued because they disagreed about Ms. Wood's career--which seems rather odd. He also described how, and why, the infamous wine bottle was smashed. According to him, he was so angry at Mr. Walken that he struck a table with the bottle and then took pains to clean it up afterward with the help of the boat's steward (who gave a very different account of what happened that night). I find it very odd, indeed, that Mr. Wagner began to date Jill St. John approximately 10 weeks after the death of Ms. Wood. If he was rendered incapacitated by deep grief for his late wife, as he claimed, he certainly made a miraculous recovery.
10 people found this helpful
MinnieReviewed in the United States on May 6, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Natalie Wood, beautiful, brave, and beloved.
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This is a wonderful tribute to not only a tremendously talented actress, but the epitome of a loving mother and wife. I was touched by all the memories discussed by her friends, her husband, and especially, her daughters. Natasha Gregson Wagner should be proud of this documentary. She gave the public wonderful insight into what her mother was truly like away from the limelight.
11 people found this helpful
sscottReviewed in the United States on May 9, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Tragic death and done with love
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A great tribute to a great woman who was ahead of her time in terms of the women's movement in so many ways. Film was done with great candor and love. I sympathize with the family and RJ and hope that this film will help all the conspiracy theorists let the family be and live out their days of remembering Natalie for the beautiful woman she was inside and out. We are all sad Natalie Wood is no longer here, but clearly, no more than her family and friends who knew her intimately.
8 people found this helpful
bmbutlerReviewed in the United States on May 6, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
The telling of an wonderful life that ended all too soon
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I remember hearing on that Sunday in November 1981 that Natalie Wood had died like it was yesterday. After all the tabloid gossip and horrible accusations, I am thankful that her daughter went to so much care and depth to tell the story of her mother from those who loved her and miss her still. The only thing I wish had been edited out was Jill St. John saying she knew loss after the death of her ex-husband on a plane crash to illustrate how she helped Robert Wagner. Jill, sorry, but that doesn’t even come close to his family’s pain over Natalie’s death. Just felt it was rather self-serving especially given how quickly she moved in after Natalie’s death.

The gossip was handled tactfully, and it was heartbreaking to hear Robert Wagner tell the story. You can see the pain and love for his wife that he still has after all these years and the horrible accusations that have been leveled at him from those out of selfish greed.

I highly recommend this documentary to those that want to learn the true story of who Natalie Wood was by those who knew her the best and wanted to finally tell it to the world.
5 people found this helpful
abigail s.Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A wonderful bio of an amazing woman
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I am going to make this short and sweet. The movie is beautiful, moving, and uplifting story of Natalie Woods.

How wonderful that Natalie's daughter supported Robert Wagner who is clearly devastated by her death.

Thank you for this wonderful film. I truly enjoyed it and cried too many times. But that's what great documentaries do. You just can't help but get emotionally wrapped up in this one.
8 people found this helpful
Robin DettmanReviewed in the United States on May 7, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A beautiful and honest tribute to a wonderful talent
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I have always thought she was a great talent. I'm glad now to know how much she worked and achieved whatever autonomy and equality she could in an industry that works so hard to reduce those for women. She was and still is a bright shining light for young women in the roles she took and the complexity and honesty she brought to them. We were lucky to have this shining star that left her family and her audience all too soon. Rest in Love, Natalie.
7 people found this helpful
johnmike59Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Several questions, few answers, but a true valentine to Natalie Wood.
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Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind (what remains behind, indeed?) is an absorbing, well-paced and thoughtful tribute to one of Hollywood's greatest stars. - I learned more about Ms. Wood's life, career, and her complex personality - all of which I thoroughly enjoyed and was laid out expertly. Clips culled from her most memorable film roles and various interviews she gave shed great insight on what drove Wood, which was essential to her, and her fears and anxieties.

I noticed immediately that Natasha Gregson Wagner - Wood's daughter with her second husband, Richard Gregson, sat across from her step-father and discussed her mother with him. THEIR daughter Courtney, born in 1974 who was seven when her mother died in November 1981. I thought that spoke volumes (and even Wagner's daughter from Wagner's second marriage kept her powder dry - neither defending nor indicting her father in Wood's death).

It came as no surprise to me, despite naysayers, that there was tension between Wagner and Christopher Walken, Wood's co-star on her final film, "Brainstorm." - and even more extraordinary for Wagner to say that he was drunk that terrible evening, got into a shouting match with Walken on board, smashed a bottle of wine in his fury. Toxicology reports tell us that Wood was intoxicated, mixing alcohol with sleeping medication - is it any wonder that a woman, with a lifelong fear of water, would attempt to bolt, even in her inebriated state, on a rainy night off the California coast? We see how well that worked out, and I mean NO disrespect whatsoever.

Wagner is an actor - and here, his performance falls WAY short. I have never believed anything I've ever heard him say about that fateful night, Christopher Walken has been silent for nearly 40 years and to the others on camera, what are these people supposed to mean? The whole story has never been told and is undoubtedly not discussed here. Too many questions remain - enough for the Los Angeles Police Department to re-open the case 30 years after the fact. Wagner is 90 years old, so if the truth EVER emerges, many of those on-camera in this documentary will have to go to their rewards. In short, if the viewer is looking for answers, one doesn't find them here - God is in the details, and one must read between the lines.

However, as a paean to Natalie Wood's life, her ups and downs, passions, her warmth, and exceptional talent, this film succeeds beautifully! Let THAT be your focus and enjoy it!
One person found this helpful
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