Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Michael J. Fox on living with Parkinson’s

 If you've ever known someone who has suffered from Parkinson's Disease, you know how debilitating affliction it becomes as it advances, a malady beyond cure. I've witnessed the devastations of Parkinson's and sometimes found it difficult to watch Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, a lively documentary that charts Fox's rise as a comic actor while showing the ways in which Parkinson's now tends to dominate his daily life. As tough as it can be to watch Fox struggle to speak, walk (he often falls and breaks things) and proceed with his life, director Davis Guggenheim's movie demonstrates that Fox remains funny, reflective, candid and entertaining. Clips from Back to the Future and Family Ties remind us  that Fox, a Canadian high school dropout, had a career that catapulted him to a level of success that sometimes left him reeling. Fox talks about how he tried to continue his career after his diagnoses, devising clever ways to conceal the tremors that would overtake his left hand without warning. Guggenheim also takes us into Fox's home where we meet his wife, Tracy Pollan, and his kids. The boyish, engaging actor is now a debilitated 61-year-old man, but neither Guggenheim nor Fox asks for pity. The title has multiple meanings: It refers to Fox's tendency to speed from one project to the next, always on the run, primarily motivated by fear, he says. He also says that Parkinson's eventually allowed him to find a measure of stillness that previously eluded him. But for me, the title suggests something else, he's still here -- living as fully as he can and offering a story that's sure to inspire others.

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