Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is a 2023 American documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about the life of actor Michael J. Fox and his struggle with Parkinson’s disease. The film premiered at a 2023 Sundance Film Festival in January 20, and then released on May 12, 2023, on Apple TV+.
I had the opportunity to see Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie along with a Parkinson’s Support group. It was an opportunity for gathering together and watching a film that was not easy but was handled with sensitivity. The story of Michael J. Fox was fascinating and the snippets of the films and TV shows that brought delight to audiences were uplifting and pleasant. The parts of the film that showed the struggling Michael J. Fox were a testament to his bravery and generosity in sharing difficult times openly.
In a 2023 interview with Headliner Chicago, Davis Guggenheim spoke about how the spirit of Michael J. Fox is on display in the movie, despite his physical struggles: “I think it’s a little shocking at first when you see him now. We have a scene at the beginning of the movie where he’s walking to his office. You know he really struggles to walk and not fall and it’s hard to see someone who grew up in your living room… He moved so well, like one of the things in Back to the Future (1985), where he slid across the hood of the DeLorean. To see him how he is now, I think it’s really hard, but RIGHT AWAY you see that sparkle in his eye and you forget about it because he’s still so charismatic. And funny. The best part of this movie is that there’s so much laughter in it. There’s so much joy in it. Even in the hard spots.”
The film took on a very important role when shown to a group of this kind, offering opportunities for discussion and questions. It also provided the means to share educational material and announcements about upcoming events. For example, there was a flyer about an event sponsored by Parkinson Association of Northern California (PANC) on Saturday, September 30, 2023 (www.PANCTODAY.org) There was agreement that the film was moving and inspirational.
I kept thinking about the film and I wondered how it was that this film came to be and after searching for a while I found an article in the New York Times dated
May 14, 2023 By Robert Ito (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/14/movies/michael-j-fox-interview.html) in which he said in part, “When Davis Guggenheim approached Michael J. Fox three years ago in the hopes of making a film about his life, the director had a few things going for him, besides his previous success with documentaries about other luminaries including Al Gore (the Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth”) and the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai (“He Named Me Malala”). Guggenheim’s wife, the actress Elisabeth Shue, had worked with Fox before, starring as his girlfriend in the second and third installments of the “Back to the Future” series. And Guggenheim had directed “It Might Get Loud,” a documentary about Jimmy Page, Jack White and The Edge, a fact that endeared him to Fox, a longtime electric guitar player.
“Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (streaming on Apple TV+) interweaves scripted re-enactments, archival behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with Fox, and copious clips from Fox’s four-decade-long career, including his breakthrough roles in “Back to the Future” and on “Family Ties,” which established Fox as one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
The result is a genre-defying hybrid that uses Fox’s own film and TV work to creatively illustrate key moments of his life (more on that later), and even reveal long-held secrets — for example, how Fox managed to hide his Parkinson’s for years, even while starring on the ABC comedy series “Spin City.”
This is a special film.