If Anything Happens I Love You makes loss feel almost tangible

Sarah Burke

The Netflix short film If Anything Happens I Love You is a heartbreaking animated film about loss. In as little as 12 minutes, writer/directors Michael Govier and Will McCormack paint the raw emotion of two parents who find themselves stuck in a period of mourning in the aftermath of their young daughter’s death, due to a school shooting in the United States.

The issue of gun violence is still ongoing and is perhaps more prevalent in the US now more than ever. Statistics show that every year, 7,878 children and teens are shot in the United States, with 1,584 among those children and teens dying from gun violence, and there is simply no excuse for the effect this has had on the lives of countless families.

From the opening of the short film, the style is simple yet instantly effective. It is easy to become completely immersed into the void that the film creates around its characters.

The sketch style paints a picture of the parents at opposite ends of a long narrow table; their bodies hunched over and looking completely empty, lacking any sense of enjoyment for the life they now have to live without their baby girl.

The sketch-like linear art by animation director Youngran Nho feels like the bridge between the short film and reality. It is raw and unfinished. Without any dialogue, this animation depicts abstract visuals and expressions of the three characters.

The shadows above the characters throughout the film take us on an emotional journey of what the characters long to express to each other.

The short’s colour scheme is one of the most interesting components. Most of the cinematography is dominated mainly by muted tones of black and white, though there are small injections of colour when we are brought through fond memories of the childhood of their daughter.

If Anything Happens I Love You holds a powerful message of the unnecessary loss countless families have had experience due to gun violence. The hand drawn characters make these figures and their loss feel almost tangible.

The storytelling is direct yet sublime; every animated expression is meaningful and full of emotion, which makes it hard not to shed a tear. A box of tissues is definitely a necessity for this one.

Sarah Burke

Image Credit: IMDB