Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
by George Wolf
For seven years after his initial diagnosis at the age of 29, Michael J. Fox was committed to hiding the signs of Parkinson’s disease.
He’s not at all interested in hiding anymore, and the inviting nature of his candor is a major reason why Apple TV’s Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie connects on such a warmly human level.
That really shouldn’t be a surprise. Since he rocketed to sitcom fame with Family Ties in the 1980s, Fox has remained a relentlessly likable guy. Short of stature but long on charm and comic timing, Fox hit superstardom with 85’s Back to the Future, then navigated the hits and misses to remain a staple of the big and small screen for decades.
Director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) anchors the film via his Q&A session with Fox, bringing life to the life story with a mix of subtle recreations and nimble editing.
As Fox reflects on his path to the Big Time, editor Michael Harte weaves in carefully selected scenes from Fox’s TV, movie and talk show work that illustrate the anecdotes with entertaining precision. It’s all a slick counterpoint to the reality of Fox’s health, which is acknowledged from the film’s opening minutes, when Fox tells of waking up with a trembling pinky and a “message from the future.”
His present now includes frequent physical therapy sessions, as well as numerous falls and injuries, but he accepts it with grace and self-effacing humor (which includes a priceless bit from an appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm).
Fox also recounts his love story with wife Tracy Pollan, and the slices of his current home life with Tracy and their children make it easier to understand Fox’s eternally grateful attitude about how his life has turned out.
Fox has no use for pity. And he makes sure that your time spent with A Michael J. Fox Movie will only be inspiring and uplifting.