The Forgettable Life of Liam White Is Unforgettable
Discussion of the black family today tends to focus on form (the perceived absence of “two parent” households”) as opposed to function (the presence of love, support, and understanding). Relationships between black men and black women tend to focus on what women can do to attract men, and the frustration men have with meeting the standards of women. The willingness to sacrifice for one another within those relationships are an afterthought. As a community, we turn to Kevin Samuels to boost our image, we turn to Iyanla VanZant to fix our lives.
The Forgettable Life of Liam White
From director, producer, and writer Harold Jackson, The Forgettable Life of Liam White stars Shaun Woodland, Sasha Wakefield, T.C. Carson and Jasmine Guy. It’s the story of Liam White, a Washington D.C, based writer who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, taking stock of his life and specifically the relationships he has with friends and family as he lives out his last months.
Woodland’s performance is steady as we follow him through requirements of his job and the various interactions with the people, particularly women, in his life. We start with Monica (Kelsey De La Mar), a woman he seemingly has a casual sexual relationship with only to find out that he is in a more grounded relationship with Adrianna (played by Wakefield) who is his rock throughout his sickness and the multitude of emotional states that Liam experiences. Is this a representation of “all men cheat”? Perhaps, but White is not necessarily a good guy, only a guy (technically just a guy who likes Jill Scott as he describes himself at the end of the movie).
In addition to his sister (Tamieka Chavis) and girlfriend, Liam’s therapist (Tasia Grant) and editor (Monica Rios) are also black women whom he leans on for support. The message is undeniable throughout. While his friend and manager Chris (Karon Riley) is also a major presence in his life, we can see through their interactions that the relationship is not one of symbiosis, but of one of guidance on the part of Liam. Not only has Liam’s success made Chris wealthy, but we also see advice Liam gives to Chris on the duality of the world used by Chris to impress a woman he wants to sleep with much to Liam’s disappointment.
Liam’s relationship with his father (T.C. Carson) is revealed to be at best contentious which is actually much better than his relationship with his mother (Jasmine Guy) which is at best nomexistent. The latter ends up leaving the former after decades of marriage for another man whom dies leaving her his entire estate. She is alone and “will not let any man keep her down” even her former husband and son. His dad is resolute in what he sees and believes with an inability to open up to Liam, and most likely his former wife. What we deduce is that our relationship with our parents and their relationship with one another have a tremendous impact on us.
This is an issue with the movie. We are dropped into Liam’s life with little backstory on all of these complex relationships. His relationships with the members of his immediate circle are given the same depth as his relationship with a con artist (Lindsay Corriveau) who convinces Liam that he may have a new lease on life. Perhaps this is apart of the overall attempt of the movie to suggest that relationships can be fleeting, but we have no idea how or why Liam’s relationships ended up where they are.
In the end, maybe that is not important for what Liam White does teach us is that we are the sum product of those around us and our interactions with them. The Forgettable Life of Liam White is both a character study and a study on relationships, networks, and the strengths and weaknesses of our ties with one another.