A documentary about a person is as fascinating as the person themself. Especially when it is told in the first person, and when that someone happens to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, it is natural that Netflix’s Arnold is a smashing watch. The three-part docuseries has just been released on the platform, strategically, some might say. FUBAR, Arnold’s big return to the world of television, has been topping global viewership charts on Netflix. It was only natural for them to place the release of Arnold close to it to optimize their numbers. Even if Arnold, the docuseries, wouldn’t have been released in tandem with FUBAR, I’m pretty sure it would have done great numbers nonetheless.

And that is because of how interesting Schwarzenegger is as a person. Following his life story from the scenic village of Thal in Austria to the elite neighborhood of Beverly Hills is a fascinating journey. There is no doubt in the fact that the Austrian hunk was a physical phenomenon. But it was his drive that really inspired him to make a life larger than most people’s. The documentary does not have any sentimental or melodramatic elements, reflecting the steely nerves and mindset of one of Hollywood’s greatest “stars.” 

For those looking for motivation, Arnold is the perfect fodder. The docuseries celebrates his spirit of life and the relentless pursuit of achieving the next goal. Arnold is a revelatory portrait one that is intimate not to the person but to his achievements. The catch here is that both are the same things, and ironically, it is hard to tell the difference. Arnold is absolutely uncompromising about his life and details various instances without hesitation and shame. It is so unexpectedly disarming that the manner in which the revelations are made is more impactful.

The docuseries have three parts: Athlete, Actor, and American. Each transcribes a phase from his life and how he became a mantlepiece for American success. One thing that the makers do well in the Netflix docuseries is evoking from Arnold how he changed as a person through his life journey. By the end, he became more giving and compassionate, as opposed to the arrogance and cockiness he exhibited when he was younger. The change through different life experiences brought sportsmanship and compassion to his personality, eroding shades of narcissism and attitude.

A still from Arnold (2023)

His subtle arrogance and relentless grind have defined his persona in the public eye. But his sense of deep community greatly reflects in the docuseries when he alludes to the time he first spent away from Austria and when he became a Governor.  He came to be loved by all for his focus in his gym and mischievousness outside. Barbara Outlander was his first girlfriend, and spending time with her family made him familiar with the American way of life. But this made him distant from his family in Austria, which he doesn’t necessarily repent. It is just the kind of person he is; always looking forward and not dwelling on things. 

Arnold’s life in Thal was idyllic and undisturbed, drenched in scenic beauty. He grew up with strict parents who did not always show affection towards their boys. He had a tough childhood and struggled to create an emotional connection with his father, who greatly suffered from PTSD after World War II. But in Arnold’s own words, “That’s what drove him to go out of Austria.” 

His experience made Arnold more determined and strengthened his resolve to make it big. He had an instant realization that he did not belong in this place and wanted more than just to be working to support his family after going to college. The visit to Graz with his brother broadened Arnold’s horizons to a world outside Austria and injected the “bodybuilding” worm in him. Even though he was a specimen of natural athleticism, Arnold needed tough and consistent work to hone it. Such is his style and personality that his hard work seems easy for him.

As he describes the sacrifices he made to be where he is, you are detached from his reality. The magnitude of what he has achieved is misunderstood from the perception of the work he put in. But that is just the Schwarzenegger style! The many facets of his public life, as the three versions of himself, each have their own arc. But one thing that is common to them all is a sense of completion; of reaching the peak of something and not looking back at the beautiful journey but ahead, toward the next peak. That is what Schwarzenegger’s life story sells. 

Read More: 6 TV Shows to Watch if like FUBAR

Arnold (2023) Netflix Docuseries Links – IMDb
Where to watch Arnold

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