Michael J. Fox is one of Hollywood’s most-loved stars. He rose to fame in the in the early 80s as the star of US sitcom ‘Family Ties’, which led him to land the lead role of Marty McFly in the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy. As his career was taking off, Fox was dealt a cruel blow when he was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 29. He kept his diagnosis secret until 1998, when he made his diagnosis public. Since then he’s documented his life and fight against Parkinson’s through a series of books, starting with 2002’s ‘Lucky Man’. Now aged 61, Fox is the subject of ‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’, a documentary from Davis Guggenheim that explores the star’s career and personal life.
‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’ embodies the spirit that Fox has become known. It is surprisingly upbeat while never sugar-coating the reality of what Fox has, and continues to, endure in his fight against Parkinson’s. Guggenheim weaves sit-down interviews with Fox with archive footage from his work and career, and dramatic re-enactments of parts of his memoirs. That gives the documentary a zippy pace and it really does manage to cover an incredible amount in its 95 minutes.
If you’ve read Fox’s books, as I have, a lot of the material here will feel like familiar ground but being able to see Fox telling his own story is remarkably powerful. Starting with his career, the documentary is packed with behind-the-scenes footage from ‘Family Ties’ as Fox is candid about the start of his career and his rise to super-stardom. As he speaks to Guggenheim on a variety of topics, Fox is also seen working with his physiotherapist so he can continue to walk and live as normal a life as possible. At one point, he appears on camera getting a touch-up after injuring himself during a particularly nasty fall but still his spirit isn’t dampened and he’s determined to continue telling his story.
One particular scene shows the bond he has with his family. He is seen joking around with wife Tracy Pollan and two of their four children, as he’s trying to explain why he’s not replied to so many messages on his phone. Fox is as self-deprecating as ever about his illness, and within seconds he has his family in stitches. The love he has for his family, and the special bond he shares with his wife, provide the backbone of the documentary. Several times Fox speaks of the burden he must pose to Tracy but she’s seen by his side all the time supporting him.
‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’ is a portrait of a man who has transcended his status as a famous actor. He’s an inspiration to his millions of fans and those also battling Parkinson’s Disease. His refusal to be beaten down by a diagnosis that would have floored many, is truly incredible. Always armed with a joke and a cheeky smile, Fox has the admirable ability to see the positives and this film is a perfect tribute to a star who is more loved than he probably knows.
Cast: Michael J. Fox Director: Davis Guggenheim Certificate: 15 Duration: 95 mins Released by: Apple TV+ Release date: 12th May 2023