There’s something universal about Michael J. Fox. His talent and likeability are something pretty much all of us agree on, and that’s sorely lacking in today’s day and age. In the late 1990s, he disclosed to the public a diagnosis he had been living with for some years. MJFox has Parkinson’s Disease. So why tell this story now?
That is precisely the question posed to Fox by Oscar-winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim… Ryan and I tuned in on Apple TV+ to find out the answer.
I admit I thought Apple TV Plus would be a go-nowhere also-ran. A service that the tech giant could simply afford to keep running that the elites would tune into but us regular people would largely ignore. However, after scoring CODA a couple of years ago at Sundance, it’s clear that they have good taste in films. That brings us to Still: A Michael J Fox Movie. Here, Fox teams up with Davis Guggenheim, the director who brought us An Inconvenient Truth, to tell the story of his early struggles, his meteoric rise, his time atop the charts, and his battles with Parkinson’s disease. This might just be another Oscar-worthy movie for Apple.
What makes this movie very special is Guggenheim’s use of collage. He wisely splices relevant clips of Fox’s filmography and television career into the narrative, using scenes from Family Ties to illustrate his hectic schedule, and a punch in Back To The Future o demonstrate his philosophy on fighting. These clips run alongside some reenactments and still photos and it’s all so seamless that you almost forget you’re rewatching scenes you’ve seen before. This recontextualization of archival footage is a meticulous stroke of genius.
Then there is Fox himself. Though his symptoms have progressed significantly, his innate charm and comedic timing remain intact. His humanity and humility are laid bare. Fox is vulnerable, honest, and sincere in telling his story, not for vanity, certainly not for pity, but in the hope that it may inspire us. And it does.
That isn’t to say that the movie is without flaws. my main criticism is that while it weaves an intricate tale, it doesn’t delve too deeply into any of its many chapters. It’s hard to say that something so raw could also seem a little fluffy and surface level, but I did want to plumb even lower into the darkness and the light of Still. I found that a bit lacking.
Where you end up with Still is with an even deeper love for Michael J Fox. Despite the film’s flaws its openness and access to a legend never the less will leave you inspired and enlightened. This is a must-see.
Jaw Dropping Moment: his walking.
Poster Quote: Michael J Fox may not be Still, but he is Still Michael J Fox.
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie gets 3.5 Jaws out of 4!