Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (2023) Review
DIRECTOR Davis Guggenheim was responsible for An Inconvenient Truth -- my favourite documentary ever created. With the announcement he would be returning to his documentation routes to cover the life of esteemed actor Michael J. Fox, hopes were beyond high to see what direction he would take with a life as interesting as Fox's. And to no one's surprise, he knocked it out of the park.
Still recounts the sudden rise of teen sensation Michael J. Fox as he navigates his way through the life of Hollywood, through his breakout role in Family Ties to his career-changing performance in Back to the Future. However, tragedy would strike Fox during his highest of highs when he becomes diagnosed with Parkinsons -- an incurable disease typically diagnosed later in life which causes the body to continuously twitch and shake. Despite his acting career seemingly being over, Fox explains through the documentary how he managed to keep himself stable and discover new leases in life he thought impossible before.
Just watching the documentary you can tell Michael J. Fox played a major role in the vision he wanted for this reflective narrative. Still isn't afraid to avoid the tough questions, asking Fox with blatant honesty about how it feels to see yourself shake knowing you're powerless to make it stop. Being known for his kindness and wicked sense of humour, Fox remarkably laughs during many of these questions, making it all the more harrowing when he has to take moments to process the more sentimental queries, particularly those surrounding his late parents who were instrumental in Michael's introduction to Tinseltown.
The docudrama was keenly aware of the audience they were attracting, utilising numerous MJF film clips not only in the advertising, but throughout much of the runtime as well. While they could have used these clips as arbitrary nostalgia fuel to keep audiences interested, Guggenheim structures them in a unique manner where they manage to maintain a coherent timeline to avoid having to hire an extra to play MJF in recreations that would've been confusing and distracting. By using movie scenes starring his younger self, it allows people to connect more with Fox since you don't have to imagine his face in the situation when his voice, mannerisms and face are all on full display to keep you engaged and further connected to his deeply-rooted tragedy.
Michael J. Fox is undeniably the star of his own story in this well-told, incredibly inspiring documentary that can connect to anybody unsure of their own mental fortitude. Director Davis Guggenheim utilises engaging visual styles and asks candid questions to test Michael's moxie and endurance in what would have been a challenge for him to talk about at times. Well-paced and more than well-executed, Still is yet another triumph in the enduring career of Michael J. Fox and deserves a spot in one of the best documentaries in the past decade.