‘Still’ Review

Michael J. Fox rides in the Delorean to tell his life story

It’s tempting to describe the arc of Michael J. Fox’s advocacy for Parkinson’s research in a direct course from the actor’s diagnosis at age 29 with an early onset of the disease. Yet, the new documentary Still candidly explains how Fox hid his illness for seven years before he publicly acknowledged what he thought at first must be the “cosmic price” he had to pay for skyrocketing Hollywood success.

The script distills some of Fox’s wordsmithing from his four books into a story that vacillates between the late-night circuit and the red carpet, and his daily reality of medication and physical therapy to adjust to diminishing functions. There’s a good measure of nostalgia as many viewers already know the story: His breaks came first with TV sitcoms, then stardom followed when Back to the Future and Teen Wolf hit No. 1 and No. 2 on the Blockbuster chart the same week in August of 1985.

Director Davis Guggenheim makes great use of Fox’s myriad roles, using clips from The Secret of My Success and Family Ties, for example, as story devices in Fox’s own timeline. In Still’s interview segments, Fox discusses the irony that for the early years of his television and movie career, he never stopped moving. Then, as the tremors, rigid muscles and spasms that characterize the disease descended on him, stillness eluded him in a new, involuntary way.

The Marty McFly sparkle lingers in his blue eyes, but looking into Fox’s 61-year-old face as he struggles to form words can take one’s breath away. He explains a thrust into work, depression and alcoholism that comprised his initial response to the illness; he only went public after it became too difficult to hide.

Pity him not, Fox admonishes: “If you pity me, it’s never going to get to me. I’m not pitiful. I’ve got shit going on. I am a tough son of a bitch. I am a cockroach.”

True that: Fox famously fought back by establishing a philanthropic foundation for Parkinson’s research and advocating to Congress. To date, he’s raised more than $2 billion and he’s still at it.


+Inspiring and nostalgic

-Overuse of dramatic B-Roll

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

Directed by Davis Guggenheim

AppleTV+, R, 95 min.

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