Living Will – By Jonathan Lockhart JrShort Film Review

Living Will is the emotional tale of an African American man saying goodbye to his father whilst also confronting the traumatic past of his family history.

Living Will - Short Film Review

Director/Writer Jonathan Lockhart Jr brings this character of Will to life by means of a sad goodbye to his father on his deathbed, as his young song watches. The film follows the exchange between Will (Marcus Humose) and his dying father (Thomas Wilson) as he shares family history with him. Will is transported to situations that his ancestors found themselves in, with white abusers attacking him for his race.

Living Will - Short Film Review

It’s the wordless, well-directed confrontations that really brings this story to life between Will and the oppressors. Jonathan Lockhart Jr does such an effective job of making us as the audience feel immense sympathy for the plight of Will’s father and family through the racially discriminated situations and hatred for the white abusers (Robert Courtenay and Landon Watford) who lash out against Will simply for being black.

Living Will - Short Film Review

Pops explains that to know what his son is up against, Will needs to understand the past to make a future for his son. What follows is Will is transported to a series of different points in history such as a slave plantation where he is in the shoes of his ancestor, whilst his son Junior (Sebastian Humose) looks on.

The transitions between these events are very smooth and well cut, as the story is undercut by sad piano to show all the sacrifices that Will’s family has had to go through. The cinematography is brilliant as Matthew Romanski (DOP) employs a range of tracking shots, smooth transitions and brilliant colour palates that emphasise each scene and give them all a grounded and realistic feel.

Without giving away the ending too much, it does a beautiful job of wrapping up the narrative. The story itself is self-contained and sends a very powerful message, in an original and thought-provoking way.

All-in-all, Living Will was a moving short film with a lot of thought-provoking moments, told very efficiently in the short form.

Living Will - Short Film Review

We very much look forward to seeing where Jonathan Lockhart Jr goes next!



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