Review of “If Anything Happens I Love you”

Photo+from+Netflix+site%2C+available+on+November+20%2C+2020%2C+Some+rights+reserved%2C+https%3A%2F%2Fwww.netflix.com%2Ftitle%2F81349306%0A

Photo from Netflix site, available on November 20, 2020, Some rights reserved, https://www.netflix.com/title/81349306

“If Anything Happens I Love You” is a 12-minute short film written and directed by Michael Govier and Will McCormack that became available for streaming to Netflix subscribers on November 20. The film immediately soared in popularity, touching the hearts of millions of viewers and securing the second spot on Netflix’s worldwide charts. 

This beautifully animated film focuses on two grieving parents who we later learn are struggling to cope with the death of their daughter due to a school shooting. The film begins with a melancholy scene: the mother and father at two ends of an elongated table, solemnly fiddling with their spaghetti and meatballs. Above their downturned heads, shadowy figures of themselves reenact past arguments and air out old grievances. 

The film continues, depicting the parents doing everyday tasks made infinitely harder in their emotional state. While doing the laundry, the mother crumples to the ground when she stumbles upon a blue shirt which we assume belongs to the child. In a chain reaction, a soccer ball is knocked off a shelf and then begins to roll until it collides with a record player in the daughter’s room that starts playing the song “1950” by King Princess.

The daughter’s spirit emerges from the vinyl and tries to comfort her parents who sit distraught on her bed. We are taken back in time as they recount life events such as the daughter’s birthdays, a family trip to the Grand Canyon, and a soccer game with her dad.

The nostalgia is abruptly interrupted by an assuming scene. The daughter is dropped off at school one day with earnest smiles from the parents but resistance from the shadow parents. We are taken to a school hallway where an American flag is proudly hung above a door. We hear gunshots and haunting screams as the screen grows black. The daughter texts her parents, “If anything happens I love you”.

What makes this film so effective is that this is not just an imagined tragedy taking place in some distant land far. Children in schools all over America share the same fears which only seem to grow more real and horrific as time progresses. Govier and McCormack are extremely successful in their attempt to illustrate the true devastation of these tragedies to those who are close to the victims. The use of sparse animation mainly in black and white emphasizes the select things that are displayed in color while the soundtrack emphasizes the youth of the daughter.

“If Anything Happens I Love You” is available for streaming on Netflix and is a must-see that is sure to tug at the heartstrings.