It’s a mark of the self-deprecating humour of actor Michael J Fox that, despite the debilitating Parkinson’s disease that has him struggling to control his movement that he can title this absorbing documentary ‘Still’ because throughout the film as he talks candidly about the condition he’s unable to stay still. Those who remember him from his Family Ties sitcom and Back to the Future films will be shocked and upset at his worsening condition but this documentary has him speaking quite openly and candidly about his life and career. At the same time the actor seems to suggest that maybe he bought it on himself. Although that can never be proved there’s a moment where he outlines that when he hit stardom with Family Ties he also took the lead in Back to the Future which saw him working relentless hours being transported back and fore from each set and trying to grab the occasional hours sleep in the back of the car. That his stardom went stratospheric on the film’s release and by his own admission his ego inflated correspondingly and he later goes on to unfairly blame his contracting Parkinson’s disease as, ‘a cosmic price of success’.
It’s a dreadfully unfair disease robbing anyone of their functions but the documentary doesn’t strive for sympathy and neither does Fox who remains optimistic about his condition and the research that is being to find, if not a cure, then a way of controlling it.
Fox is pretty forthright about himself, his career and his attitude and director Davis Guggenheim has expertly moulded a film that focuses solely on the actor speaking to camera and much of what Fox talks about is illustrated with clips from Family Ties, chat show appearances and behind the scenes footage. From his younger days, where our very own Dec of And & Dec fame could find work as a look-a-like when ‘I’m a Celebrity’ eventually gets cancelled, he has lived through austere times in his early days as a struggling actor to how he struggles with his current condition his baby face belies a fighting spirit. This is a fine documentary of a man who at the height of his fame is struck down by a debilitating disease but finds comfort and strength in his family. Still is often inspiring viewing.
related feature: Robin Williams documentary, ‘Robin’s Wish’ reviewed
Here’s the Still a Michael J Fox trailer…….