Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie review – a touching and fittingly frenetic biography
This documentary is inevitably filled with sadness, but also packed with laughs in the company of one of Hollywood's funniest actors
In a way that initially feels a little off-putting but soon comes to brilliantly mimic its star subject, Davis Guggenheim’s Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie takes off at a gallop and only barely gives you the time and space to catch up. Here is a lightning-fast biographical documentary that captures Fox’s lightning wit and general urgency with a fittingly manic approach, bouncing between eras and styles as it barrels towards an ultimately very touching conclusion.
With Fox front and centre both as a talking head and general narrator, Still inevitably revolves primarily around his existence as someone with Parkinson’s Disease, from his initial diagnosis at just 30 to his life today, where management of the condition is possible but requires constant work. We see Fox’s physio sessions and various hospital visits after his falls, but neither he nor Guggenheim want a sob story here, even if an inherent sadness is inevitable.
Fox is, of course, great company, incredibly funny and always flitting between ideas, both in the talking head interviews and in all the archive footage of him managing his celebrity in the ‘80s as one of Hollywood’s most famous and celebrated young actors. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments here, whether that’s in an old Letterman interview, a chat in the kitchen with Fox’s (also very funny) family, or, in a way that might be cheating, in clips from his sublime appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
It’s in this love of comedy that Fox clearly wants to leave his artistic legacy, his discussions of the beauty of laughter just as moving as the stories of desperately hiding his condition from studios and audiences across the ‘90s. There are a couple of over-used and over-stylised crutches here from Guggenheim (the editing of Fox’s TV and movie appearances to match events from his real life is a mixed bag), but Still is incredibly easy to recommend; it's basically 90 minutes of bracingly honest chat with one of the funniest actors alive.
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is released in UK cinemas and Apple TV+ on 12 May.Where to watch