Film Journal 2023: Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

Film Journal 2023: Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
Directed by Davis Guggenheim

A case study in how to make a documentary proper. Far more than simple details or the dissemination of details and facts, the filmmakers find ways to creatively imagine Fox’s story so as to unearth some surprising revelations. Not only that, but they map the essential pacing and energy to Fox’s exuberance, a storytelling choice that takes those revelations and makes them immersive.

It’s easy to parse out the basic beats of the story; a rising young star struggles with the inherent tension that exists between the challenges of fame and his responsibility to life, before a life changing event brings him crashing down to earth. What the film invites us into is an exploration of how the ways we often deal with this tension is by masking. Masking our true selves from the world, and likewise from oursleves. This journey then becomes something of a fall from innocence that moves into a process of maturing, largely by way of Wisdom incarnated into the spaces of his experience.

This is a must see for any fan of Fox and his career. It is poignant, reflective, fun and insightful. A peak behind curtain, but probing even greater depths still. More so it is an expertly crafted doc that should resonate far beyond the simple constraints of fandom. It finds a striking syncronicity between the storylines of his career and the story of his life, breathing into the film’s title multiple meanings. It strives to take a larger than life persona and ground it in lessons we can all afford to learn from, regardless of our experience. In that sense this really does feel like someone who is seeking out a legacy from the scattered lines of his unscripted life, demonstrating that hope can come even from the greatest challenges and failures of our past

Published by davetcourt

I am a 40 something Canadian with a passion for theology, film, reading writing and travel.

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