Washington D.C.-based filmmaker Harold Jackson III returns with his latest project set in the city with Liam White: The Forgotten Life of Liam White from Legacy Distribution. Shaun Woodland portrays Liam, a novelist who receives news that he has a few months to live. Now forced to come to grips with this unexpected turn of events, Liam must reevaluate his life thus far and reflect on the people who shaped him, for better and worse.
One of the first things that caught my attention in the film is Woodland's introduction to Liam as he prepares to do a book reading. The crowd is nonexistent, and Woodland fully taps into a man whose days on top are a thing of the past. Harold Jackson III's script then takes us on a brief journey of Liam's day today. We see his relationship with his long-time agent and best friend Chris (Karon Riley), his girlfriend Adrianna (Sasha Wakefield), and his agent Jo-Jo (Brave Williams).
Liam seems to have everything a creative could want, so when his doctor, Dr. Howell (Rick Kain), gave him the diagnosis, I felt the wave of emotions as much as our lead character, what I took from the film over the course of its run time as a writer and director Harold Jackson III’s subtle exploration of the seven stages of grief. Shaun Woodland fully taps into the stage and allows the audience to go on the journey with him.
Two of the moments that particularly struck a chord with me were Liam's conversations with an understanding attorney (Michael J. Patterson) to ensure his house is in order and Liam's conversations with his parents. Jasmine Guy portrays Liam's mother, with whom he is estranged, and the two engage in an almost heartbreaking dialogue whether neither one wants to budge. While the underrated T.C. Carson portrays Liam Sr., the director gives both actors a chance to tap into father/son dynamics that I found very relatable as it mirrored my relationship with my late father.
One thing I will point is that the film felt that it was very Avant-Grade in its tone. Harold Jackson III hasn't made a traditional film in terms of the editing structure, but it works. I also loved his use of familiar Washington D.C. landmarks. As my good friend Kevin Sampson of Picture Lock mentioned in his glowing review of the film, some DMV actors appear. In addition to Rick Kain and Michael J. Patterson, Chad Eric Smith and Tamieka Chavis both up and get their shine on.
While I haven’t been privy to any of Harold Jackson III’s previous films, the director has earned a fan in me with Liam White: The Forgotten Life of Liam White. Featuring an earnest and honest portrayal from Shaun Woodland, I recommended Liam White: The Forgotten Life of Liam White indie fans.
Final Grade: B