Still: A Michael J Fox Movie Review- A True Depiction of a Man in Tremendous Pain

If you were born in the 70s or 80s you couldn’t turn around without seeing something about Michael J Fox. Whether it be a magazine or talk show. His face was everywhere. He got his first big break on the CBS sitcom Family Ties where he played Alex Keaton, a smart teen who was ahead of his age bracket intellectually. While he was acting in the comedy series during the day he also got a big gig in a Robert Zemeckis film produced by Steven Spielberg at night called Back to the Future. These two projects were like burning the candle at both ends for Fox. Still.: A Michael J Fox Story depicts this man’s story from the beginning to the present day.

Michael was on fire in his career but this was a stark opposite of what his life growing up was like. He was always the little guy getting beaten up and treated badly at school. His family loved him but even they knew he was destined for something better. His father drove him to Los Angeles to start his acting career. This didn’t happen at first either. He struggled like most actors getting work and surviving. Selling his furniture and scraping every nickel and dime he could find together to eat and travel to auditions for low pay jobs.

As a kid growing up in that era, I was a big fan of Fox.  One of my favorite films growing up was Back to the Future. I also loved Teen Wolf.  These types of characters he played reminded me of myself to some extent. Young upstarts trying to make their way in the world. As a young star, he also got into a world of partying, drinking, and living the lifestyle of a Hollywood star. His earlier struggles were behind him and he wanted to enjoy his success. He bought cars and lived the life he always dreamed of when he was a youngster.

When Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the early 90s he didn’t want to share it with anybody. He was still working but he hid his diagnosis from everybody except his wife, Tracy Pollan, who he met on Family Ties, and later married. They have four kids. She was his rock who stood by him through thick and thin like husbands and wives should. She was the one person who truly understood what he was going through. He tried working for upwards of ten years before he came clean to the public about his disease. It was a shocking reveal by Fox but he wouldn’t let it define who he is as a person.

His diagnosis and subsequent reveal of his disease to the public would also make him retire from acting to become an activist for Parkinson’s Disease. He would go to testify for Congress to try and get funding for this debilitating disease. By getting funds to explore the study of the disease doctors can understand why it attacks the brain and body. Mohammed Ali is another high-profile person affected by this disease. Together these two try to get the world to find a cure for an incurable disease such as this one. Medicine has come a long way so you never know a cure might come someday. Especially with proper funding from the government and pharmaceutical companies. 

Still refers to the fact that Fox can’t sit still. He is constantly moving because of this disease. First, it started with his left hand and arm. He started taking medication for it but it takes hold of him while he’s sleeping and walking. He is in constant motion which makes him off balance and it causes him to fall a lot which in turn causes him to get injured from time to time. He has broken multiple bones in his arms and legs during the time of his disease. He is in constant pain and the suffering is almost unbearable. That’s why he is getting physical therapy. This is helping him out.

Still: A Michael J Fox Movie is an eye-opening look at a man that was full of life when he was a young man. He was bigger than life. The whole world knew his name and face. He married the love of his life and started a beautiful family with her.  They are why he continues to fight to survive. The film analyzes every aspect of this man’s life. From the time he was a kid to the present day where he is the only talking head in the film. The documentary uses a lot of archival footage to make viewers remember the past. All of his successful television shows and films. They are his legacy but his family is what he truly lives for. The film shows that in spades. This is a tremendous documentary.

4 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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