Ever since seeing the timeless Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ the first time as a child and over many, many rewatches, I’ve been fascinated with Natalie Wood.
Then there was her drowning in the cold waters near Catalina Island with her husband and Christopher Walken on the boat, which cut her life short in her early 40s. It just added to the mystique and legend surrounding the talented actress.
The tabloids and other rags have played up conspiracy theories surrounding the circumstances of her death, going as far as accusing Robert “RJ” Wagoner of possibly being involved in her death. Wood’s daughter produced the documentary which runs at times like a 20-20 interview style with Robert Wagoner and her and covers the painful night of her death, among many other topics.
Still, Gregson Wagner, who produced the documentary, and director Laurent Bouzereau knew that the film would need to address Wood’s death head-on to help audiences process it, hopefully once and for all. Knowing how crucial the conversation with Wagner would be to the project, Gregson Wagner and Bouzereau shot that portion first. “If we didn’t get what we were hoping we would get,” Bouzereau told Vanity Fair, the project may not have happened. Gregson Wagner knows that suspicions have shadowed her stepfather over the past four decades: “I do really hope that this [documentary] ends some of that nonsense,” she told Vanity Fair.Why Natalie Wood’s Daughter Is Confronting Robert Wagner About Wood’s Death | Vanity Fair
The trailer gives a nice intro into how the documentary plays out:
My personal take from watching the documentary and seeing the absolute pain and grief on Robert Wagoner’s face, as well as the stories and pictures of how close and happy their family was make me think this was exactly what the investigation ruled at the time: an absolutely tragic accident.
One good thing about movies is they outlive everybody who made them and moviegoers can continue to appreciate Natalie Wood’s talents through the years.
Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind is available for streaming on HBO Max.