Michael J. Fox fully participates in this open, sometimes brutal and very funny look back at his career, and how he’s dealing with Parkinson’s disease. The disease is taking a toll on him physically, but he’s lost little of his spark for life—and his sense of humor shines through.
Mixing new interviews with Fox, old footage of him from films and shows, and some re-enactments, the film covers his rise to fame, his diagnosis—all the way back in 1991—and everything that has happened since then. It’s an amazing and complex documentary that shows what a varied career he has had, and what a fun guy he is.
Fox mostly did comedy after 1990, but this film reminds of his pre ’90s work, where he excelled in dramatic films with Brian De Palma (Casualties of War), Paul Schrader (Light of Day) and James Bridges (Bright Lights, Big City). All of those performances were vastly underrated, especially his work as a conflicted Vietnam War soldier in De Palma’s Casualties. In Light of Day, Fox showed off solid guitar skills as alongside Joan Jett.
All of his dramatic efforts were box-office disappointments, however, so that part of his career stalled. When he realized he was going to be fighting Parkinson’s, he went to back his wheelhouse with the likes of Spin City, his popular TV show in the ’90s.
Away from the entertainment-industry talk, Fox allows the camera to come along for his therapy sessions and public walks—and it is clear that he is having a hard time. He has an incredible spirt, though, one that finds self-pity boring. He’s aware of his physical frailties, and it’s going to take a lot more than that to dull his enthusiasm for life.
This movie is a reminder of his greatness as a performer and a human being. Love the guy.
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is now streaming on Apple TV+.