STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie movie review (2023)

Just as effective is his decision to use clips from Fox’s filmography to flesh out and comment on the 61-year-old actor’s tale. With masterful editing from Michael Harte, Guggenheim seamlessly glides between Fox’s breakthrough roles in the sitcom “Family Ties” and the blockbuster “Back to the Future,” as well as subsequent performances in “Teen Wolf,” “Bright Lights, Big City,” “Casualties of War,” “Doc Hollywood” and more.

Reenactments provide lively and essential connective tissue, and Fox’s entertaining narration from his books ties it all together. One spectacular sequence details how Fox simultaneously shot “Family Ties” by day and “Back to the Future” by night, with drivers rushing him from place to place, waking him up, brewing his coffee, and ensuring he has his scripts. (And we learn how Eric Stoltz was originally cast in the iconic role of Marty McFly, and even shot much of the film before Fox was hired to replace him. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in that puffy vest and jeans, bantering about the flux capacitor with Christopher Lloyd.)

The energy in “Still” is often infectious, and it reflects how on-the-go Fox has been since his childhood in Canada. Archival photos from hockey teams and the drama club reveal how much smaller he was than the other kids (“I was just a little elf,” he recalls), a quality that would help him play younger characters with the wisdom of age. He’s honest about both his extreme poverty starting in Hollywood as well as the arrogance that overcame him once he made it big. In one clever parallel, Guggenheim depicts Fox approaching a newsstand in the San Fernando Valley at the height of his fame, when his adorable, smiling face graced every magazine cover from People to TV Guide to Teen Beat; he recreates this image in a scene set in 1998, once Fox has revealed his Parkinson’s diagnosis, and he’s back on all the magazine covers for a sadder reason.

In between, he learned to hide the tremors on set for seven years. No one noticed it then, but we can see it now, looking back at his TV and film work. Fox is candid about the trickery he employed to create the guise of normalcy, often holding a pen or a prop in his left hand and fiddling with it or incorporating a little bob or weave into a punch line to mask his unsteadiness. That he felt the need to go to such lengths for personal and professional survival is retroactively heartbreaking. And then there’s his drinking to numb the bread, which Fox has talked about for many years.