6 May 2020 | paul-allaer
Loving and respectful look at Natalie Wood the person and the actress
"Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind" (2020 release; 101 min.) is a documentary about the life and times of Natalie Wood. As the movie opens, we hear in voice-over Natalie's daughter Natasha who was 11 at the time of her mother's death, lamenting that "How she died has overshadowed her work and the person that she was". We then go back in time to Natalie's early years, and how she started in the movies at a very young age (5). Friend of the family Robert Redford comments "To survive in the movie business you have to be tough, but Natalie also had a big heart." Along the way we get clips of Natalie talking about her craft. At this point we are 10 min. into the movie.
Couple of comments: this documentary is from the French director Laurent Bouzereau, best known for his dozens and dozens "making of" documentaries,. More importantly, the movie is produced by Natasha Gregson Wagner, Natalie's oldest daughter. From the interviews with/by Natasha and also her younger sister (Natalie's youngest daughter Courtney who was 7 when Natalie died), it is clear that both have been haunted for years about the early passing of their mother. There is of course some irony in the fact that the movie opens with the very thing that Natasha is complaining about (her death overshadowing Natalie's work and the person she was). Roughly speaking the first half of the movie deals with the person that Natalie was, and the second half presents a closer look at Natalie's incredible Hollywood career. You can sense the love and the respect for Natalie throughout, as one might expect from a film produced by Natalie's daughter, but the movie does also address the tumultuous personal life and relationships that Natalie went through.
"Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind" premiered on HBO earlier this week and is now available on HBO On Demand and other streaming services. If you have any interest in a slice of Hollywood history or are simply a fan of Natalie Wood, I'd readily suggest you check this out and draw your own conclusion.