‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’ – Review (Sundance)

With Fox’s charm blended with incredible editing, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is one of the best movies I’ve seen at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. It follows the life of beloved actor and advocate Michael J. Fox, exploring his personal and professional triumphs and travails, and what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease.

Shortly after the documentary starts, you can’t help but have your heart ripped in two because you watched Michael J. Fox walking the streets and he falls down. You can’t help but feel that empathy, but in like true Michael J. Fox fashion, you hear him say, “I’m a tough son of a bitch,” which makes you laugh. Fox doesn’t want you to feel pity for him or look at him any differently because of how he walks or talks, but he knows that people stare and can’t help but gawk.

I love my mind and the place it takes me, and I don’t want that to get cut short.

Fox said this line, and when he did, I had to pause, rewind, and pause again to attempt to reflect on what he said. Again, here is a man that has struggled for many years but refuses to give in to this disease he has. You hear those words, and as a storyteller/critic, my mind wanders quite a bit, including into the world of each and every film I watch, and I can’t imagine what life would be if that were taken away from me.

It’s kind of exhausting being in your own head, and when you watch something like this, you feel inspired. But far too often, I get inspired and do nothing about it. Sure, I continue to watch movies, write reviews, and repeat that cycle. However, what am I doing to ensure that I don’t lose that ability? Am I taking care of my mind and my health to ensure that longevity? I don’t know if I am. So this movie sent my head for a spin that I didn’t expect.

One thing I give a ton of credit to was director Davis Guggenheim’s diligent way of giving Fox this authentic way that laid it all on the table. It reminded me of watching Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me last year when we saw her lay it all on the line with no regrets, and Fox did the same thing here. Guggenheim didn’t shy away from the scary parts of this story, including a moment where we see Fox getting touched up with makeup because he had fallen and hurt his head.

I don’t typically love the reenactments within documentaries, but how Guggenheim intertwined these with real footage and had Fox narrate it was very well done. That said, I’d be crazy not to mention Michael Harte’s editing here because it couldn’t have been easy putting these pieces together.

Overall, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is a heartwarming look at a man that refuses to let his circumstances define who he is. Guggenheim never loses focus on the documentary subject. From Fox’s charm to the editing to how the story was told, it was very well done, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this come up next award season.

Grade: A

Oscar Prospects:
Likely: Best Documentary
Should be Considered: Best Editing

Release Date: TBA
Where to Watch: AppleTV+

Ricky Valero
Lives in Nashville
Favorite Director: Damien Chazelle
Sign: Aquarius

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