By: Amanda Guarragi
In the early 80s, Michael J. Fox was everywhere. He became the golden boy of Hollywood in the span of three years. From working on Family Ties to starring in back-to-back hits with Back to the Future and Teen Wolf, he was on a high. The more Fox worked, the cockier he became as the stardom got to his head. Fox was always a sweetheart with a pure comedic talent that came naturally to him at every turn. But once Fox got diagnosed with Parkinson’s early on in his career, he began to spiral. He lost the reason why he went into acting in the first place and only saw these characters as a way to escape the reality of his situation. In Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, directed by Davis Guggenheim, Fox looks back on his life and explains how he felt throughout his career.
I have been a fan of Fox since I was a little girl, and this documentary will make you fall in love with Michael J. Fox again. Guggenheim expertly crafts a documentary that is as whacky and fun as Fox is. Even though Fox is being interviewed, Guggenheim captures the very essence of Fox throughout. He uses archival footage from past projects to physically show him in his prime and why everyone loved him. The editing is incredible between the re-enactments of moments in his life and the archival footage. Guggenheim captured how fast Fox’s lifestyle was, which reflected the true nature of Fox. It was just a wonderful look inside his incredible career and how much he loved what he did.
Fox went through a lot, and his early Parkinson’s diagnosis changed how he saw himself and his life. He didn’t know how to move forward and tried his best to keep working for the sake of his sanity. To find out that everything about you is going to change at any time can be scary. His life came to a standstill when he was starting as a father, and he was taking roles that he didn’t even feel like him. He got lost and turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism to get through this period of his life. However, his wife Tracy cleared him up, and that’s when he found Spin City. Television was his home, and he could see his children because of the steady work schedule. He tried to hide his Parkinson’s while on set. And once he came out to everyone about his illness, audiences embraced him again and supported him.
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is a beautifully made documentary filled with love and plenty of laughter. Fox said that after he told the public about his Parkinson’s, he felt like a new man and that this was only the beginning of the next chapter of his life. As a child, Fox was bullied because of how small he was. So humour was always the way he would cope. Even now, with Parkinson’s, he makes little jokes about his condition and is unapologetically himself. Even though he is in pain the majority of the time, he never says it and goes on about his day making people laugh with his quippy nature. Fox has done incredible things for Parkinson’s research with the Fox Foundation, and this documentary will give you small moments of what he and many others are dealing with.