Three decades ago, Michael J. Fox, a diminutive actor with an outsize talent, was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Reaching the pinnacle of success at age 30, he was diagnosed with chronic, debilitating Parkinson’s Disease. At first, Fox and wife Tracy Pollan kept his illness a secret, and his career continued. Finally, in 1998, Fox went public, eventually becoming a highly visible and effective advocate for Parkinson’s research.
Director Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) sheds revealing light on the life and career of Michael J. Fox. Now over sixty, Fox’s condition has clearly deteriorated; just walking across a room is awkward, arduous and risky. That hardly lessens Fox’s determination to persevere. Thanks to Guggenheim — and mainly, Fox himself, a story that’s sad and tragic on the surface instead becomes a touching, inspiring tale of one man’s gallant struggle not just to survive, but actually find meaning and happiness in life. We learn his tight, loving family helps keep him going, but the grit that first won Fox unlikely stardom also shines through. You should definitely sit still for this memorable, poignant film.