‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’ Review: Hiding in Plain Sight

Sorry Dr. Emmett Brown, but you don’t need flux capacitors to build a time machine. All you need is to make a movie. “Still: The Films of Michael J. Foxis a new biographical documentary from director Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) that traverses the career of the “Back to the Future” actor with humor and style. Gives the impression that the subject is willing to answer any questions. Fox comes head-on in a contemporary interview with the Guggenheim off-camera. The charisma and charm that made him a star hasn’t diminished one bit.

But much of “Still”’s hallmark is how expertly edited it is, as it has no marketing hooks and is simply titled on screen. The documentary draws on the standard toolkit of reproductions and archival material, but its best twist is the use of clips from Fox’s own films, as if Fox were playing himself rather than a fictional character. as a contrast to his words.

In a way, he was. “Still” charts his experience learning to live with Parkinson’s disease, which he kept secret for years until he made his diagnosis public in 1998. One montage is set in the tacky but irresistibly INXS “New Sensation” and explains how he manages to hide his illness for what it is. eyesight. Movies such as For Love or Money (1993) and Life with Mikey (1993) reveal his habit of placing objects on his left hand to hide his tremors. . What appeared to be the work of an agile character was, nevertheless, documentary evidence.

Guggenheim describes the sequence as if it depicts a drug binge, partly because Fox talks about his popping habits. Cinemat A pill to maintain levels of dopamine, which is deficient in people with Parkinson’s disease. The corner ends with a scene of current Fox saying he needs more medicine and begging Guggenheim for a few minutes until the medicine works to reduce his mumbling.

Admittedly, the word “still” doesn’t make life sweeter for Fox with Parkinson’s disease. An early scene shows him spilling a drink across from Central Park. At another point, he had a fall and fractured his face, so a make-up artist gave him a fix. But moments like that are a reminder of how much any film can always go unseen.

The film establishes a snappy and engaging pace from the outset, with Fox, the only official speaker (who is seen with his family), asking how he’s going to act. Recall how you started. The title comes from his one of the Guggenheim questions. “What does it mean to stay still before you get Parkinson’s?” Fox replied, “I don’t know.”

After moving to Hollywood from his native Canada, he lived in a very cramped apartment, so he says he washed his hair at Palmolive and the dishes at Head & Shoulders. In the making of Back to the Future (1985), Fox himself had to temporarily dislocate himself slightly, so Marty McFly appears in a mostly autobiographical work. During the making of the film, he had to walk between sets with little sleep to meet his obligations to the sitcom Family Ties. Another toe-tapping montage (this time composed to the theme of Alan Silvestri’s “Back to the Future”), “Still” is a chauffeur chauffeured him to a certain place. It sends you off to another place, telling a sheer whirlwind of what Fox’s life was like when he could barely keep it straight. role he was playing.

Fox’s wife, Tracy Pollan, as a lover in “Family Ties” and as a possible salvation for the cocaine-addicted magazine employee played by Fox in “Bright Lights, Big City” (1988). appeared in. He’s one of those rare people who could stand his arrogance at the height of his stardom. “Still” has become something of a love story, with Pollan not only staying with Fox during his illness, but also during an extended gig-related absence, and a period he characterizes as an alcoholic. I’m drawing a picture of how I was.

But this documentary, perhaps improbably, is by no means depressing. Fox is shown working with doctors and his entourage, but it’s not primarily about illness. This is a portrait of Fox looking back on his life with wit and self-deprecation. “If he were here 20 years from now, I’d either be cured or I’d be like a pickle,” he says. The real Marty McFly may not have a time machine. But he’s now making movies that please audiences.

Still: The Films of Michael J. Fox
Rated R for language. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. Watch on Apple TV+.

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