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!