Obstacles and hardships are inevitable parts of life’s journey. While some people manage to overcome these obstacles and emerge stronger, others might give in to the challenges they experience. The common thread in the stories of those who face a significant loss in their lives is their persistent faith in themselves, their dedication to their work, and their unyielding optimism for a brighter future. Michael J. Fox, a famous star in 1980s movies and TV series, is one of the greatest examples of persistence. He is an indomitably optimistic man diagnosed with a tragic illness. He was in his late 20s when doctors diagnosed him with life-threatening Parkinson’s disease. Beginning with the Back to the Future trilogy and the hit TV series Family Ties, Michael Fox gained popularity and became a Hollywood phenomenon. However, in 1991, after receiving his diagnosis, he was first confronted with the nightmare that was capable of snatching and shattering his aspirations. But Michael Fox did not give up hope; instead, he continued with his profession until a certain point and tried to leave as many wonderful works as possible in the business.
Plot Summary: What Happens In ‘Still’ Documentary?
Still follows Michael J. Fox from his first steps into the film industry to his eventual decision to leave. Michael had no connection with the word “still” before becoming aware of his illness in 1991. Since his childhood, he has been energetic and restless. His father was a war veteran who, after returning from the war, became a police dispatcher. His mother, on the other hand, had an inclination towards the entertainment industry and used to work as an actress. Growing up, Michael was scared of his strict and regimented father, yet it was his father who took the initiative when it came to Michael’s ambition to be an actor. Although, at first, his father worried that his son would end up being a family outcast, he eventually came to trust his son’s decision. From TV programs to films, such as Midnight Madness (1980), Class of 84 (1982), Teen Wolf (1985), and his memorable role as Alex P. Keaton in “Family Ties,” Michael began to climb the ladder of success. Particularly, 1985’s “Back to the Future” became a tremendous success, earning him international acclaim.
With his continuous performance in “Family Ties,” Michael fell in love with co-actor Tracy Pollam, who remained by his side for the rest of his life. Tracy, who was madly in love with Michael, became a pillar of strength in Michael’s life. With their beautiful twins, they created a perfect family where each had mutual respect for the other. Tracy became more than a wife, girlfriend, and lover; she became Michael’s best friend and the backbone of the family.
Michael grew in popularity and became a public sensation. His drinking, smoking, and socializing with pals intensified, and he assumed there would be no end to his voyage, which sadly did not pan out. Michael, who was in the prime of his life, was forced to cut his journey short. Some unpleasant symptoms appeared in Michael’s body, which gradually took on a more aggravated form, forcing Michael to quit his acting career.
The Diagnosis Of Parkinson’s Disease And The Aftermath
One morning, following one of his worst hangovers, Michael noticed his pinky finger was constantly twitching, giving him a sensation of uneasiness. Michael was aware that something was wrong with his body, but he couldn’t understand that this sensation of discomfort would continue for the rest of his life. In 1991, he was diagnosed with an incurable and life-threatening medical condition called Parkinson’s disease. The drugs and therapies used to treat the condition only help relieve the symptoms, but a complete cure is just impossible to achieve. The diagnosis left Michael with a wounded heart and many unmet expectations. Michael J. Fox was a performer and talented actor whose sole job in the business was to portray various characters and convey their emotions through his facial expressions, but he subsequently learned that with Parkinson’s disease, he wouldn’t be able to use his facial and other body muscles in the way he desired. Michael first sought to conceal the disease’s symptoms, especially by keeping his hands as under his control as possible, but he was unable to do so for very long. In 1998, after nearly seven years from his diagnosis, he publicly talked about having Parkinson’s disease.
Michael did not want anybody to feel sympathy or pity for his loss, but he had no option but to admit that he was suffering from the disease. He came to terms with his predicament gradually, understanding that no matter how careful he attempted to be, his neurological system would not listen to him. He sustained multiple injuries as a result of his muscles failing to function. He was seriously hurt when he accidentally hit his face and fractured his facial bones. Following his admission of illness, the public’s attitude toward him changed quite naturally. In interviews, more and more questions about his health were raised, which made him uncomfortable at times, but he was able to deal with them over time. He began researching the disease’s solution since it was not only a life-threatening illness for him, but many people suffered from it, losing hope of survival. In 2000, he established a foundation in his name to aid in the funding of research for Parkinson’s disease. However, his health eventually deteriorated, forcing him to take a break from working as an actor.
His return to the TV program Spin City established him as a renowned performer once more. Following this, Michael voiced other animated films and shows, the most well-known of which was Stuart Little and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. His most recent role as a protagonist in a series was in the NBC comedy “The Michael J. Fox Show,” while he has had cameo appearances in various other films and shows. Unfortunately, the actor had to retire from the film industry permanently in 2021 since his medical condition began to worsen.
How Is Michael J. Fox Now?
The doctors had no idea Michael would be able to continue performing for so long while suffering from this terrible condition. Michael proved everyone wrong because, no matter how bad his luck was, his optimism, self-reliance, and unstoppable willpower kept him going. Even after his retirement, he never ceased appearing in front of the camera. He spoke with the creators of Still while on medication and in therapy. His family is the gift in his life that has always urged him to move on in life. One of his physiotherapists assisted him in taking a stroll on the road, where we observed the person doing his best to safeguard Michael and empathize with his condition. Michael’s health appears to be greatly enhanced by regular check-ups and exercise because, despite being in a challenging situation, he has never allowed negative emotions to take control of his thoughts. His family gave him the therapy of love and laughter he needed. We can hardly imagine what a person with such a disorder would do to maintain his sanity in a crowd of running and active people, but it appears from the documentary that Michael J. Fox isn’t just a great actor but a great fighter who hasn’t given up on his life but rather accepts the odds and goes ahead in his life. He takes every precaution to maintain control over his physical health, demonstrating his incredibly strong willpower, which is both inspirational and energizing.
Still utilizes an amazing documentary approach. Not for a single instant does the film fail to keep us engaged with each of its sequences. Although it’s possible that many of us are aware of Michael J. Fox’s numerous interviews in which the topic of his ailments was often brought up, nothing struck me as more compelling than the way Still portrays it. The film contains several film excerpts from Michael’s prior films that transport us back in time while also introducing us to the highs and lows that Michael has gone through. Another admirable aspect of the film is Michael J. Fox himself. Michael emits a wonderfully peaceful and laid-back attitude despite having this challenging physical condition, and most significantly, he depicts himself in a way that not only makes us feel sorry for his tragedy but also motivates us to admire this man’s significant accomplishments in his limited time as an actor. It’s commendable that Michael J. Fox rose to fame in such a short amount of time and left behind a handful of cult classic movies that continue to be some of the most talked-about movies in the history of cinema.