Directors Will McCormack and Michael Govier’s 12-minute Netflix short, If Anything Happens I Love You leaves a mark deeper than any movie of a longer duration.
This chilling, heart-wrenching and prodigiously impactful watch takes us on a heartbreaking journey of two mourning parents though the film ends on an optimistic note. The raw emotions presented throughout the film along with the simple and delicate animation weaves a tale that is sure to remain with us long after finishing the entire movie. It wonderfully explores the feelings of grief and sorrow from a different and painfully realistic lens. In spite of being devoid of sound as well as dialogue, the duo’s newest production is potent enough to have anyone bawling their eyes out within the first few minutes.
In the beginning, the plot may seem a little vague. The picture of a seemingly aloof couple comes into view. They are sitting at the table with their cooked meals, yet none of them expressing the urge to communicate in any form. A clearly noticeable tension can be observed between the two whose cause, however, is still obscure. The complete scene is presented in a gloomy black and white background, with the inner conflict between the two characters being represented by their dark shadows. Gradually, the story commences to unveil itself. The pair has faced the most shattering and agonizing event that can happen to a parent – the loss of their own child. The two characters remain silent, unable to get over the shock and devastation. As the movie progresses, we’re introduced to a series of memories the family had created when the blessing of the little girl still surrounded their world. But the radiant laughter and carefreeness eventually fades away when the child enters her school, and a sequence of loud gunshots and children’s shrieks are heard thereafter.
The sublime way in which such a complex yet sensitive message has been delivered is truly noteworthy. Animators of the project including Youngran Nho, Haein Michelle Heo, and Julia Gomes Rodrigues among twenty-five others, chose quite an interesting colour pallet to depict the scenes of the movie. For example, dull and pallid colours have been used to show the scenes where the utter dejection and woe of the crestfallen couple is more prominent. In comparison, deep and vivid colours portray the scenes of joy and enthusiasm. Apart from that, the balance between these two different colour schemes is so well-maintained that it almost impeccably fits the emotive pictures. The sketches and the character designs may be a bit basic and plain, but they have brilliantly brought the story to life. Additionally, the song, ‘1950’ by King Princess can be heard in the background which undoubtedly gives us all the feels.
This extraordinary tear-jerker sheds light on the prevalence of gun violence and shooting in schools. The title of the film, that is, ‘If Anything Happens I Love You’ were the final words the child sent to her mother via text. Although the story is fictitious, its title was inspired from the many messages that the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida had received from their loved ones when there was an actual shooting in the school in 2018.
Produced by Oh Good Production and Gilbert Films, this cathartic movie has the power to transform your perspective of life. It shows us why we must never take this gift of life for granted. The crew behind this rare masterpiece has done a fantastic job bringing out the harsh truth about the uncertainties of life. They have incredibly portrayed how moment, we may feel as if we’re on top of the world, but then, in the blink of an eye, our world may come crushing down. Yet none of us has the ability to escape our destiny. And at the end of the day, such tragedies can happen to anyone. Besides that, this film plays an important role to show how we can only heal together, and how the ones we truly love are never far. It also reminds us of the cruelty and injustice pervading the world. In the movie, the children had nothing to do with what had happened, yet they were the ones who had to give up their lives, even before getting the opportunity of knowing what life truly is.
Though the central idea of the film is extremely significant, along with it conveying a much-needed message, certain viewers might find it disturbing, especially the ones who have gone through a similar thing. However, at the same time, it may even resonate with them and help them feel that they aren’t alone, that healing is an elaborate process which takes time.
Overall, If Anything Happens I Love You is a beautiful story of unfiltered grief, loss, healing and undying love. Judging by all of that, I do not need to justify why this exceptional film bagged the Academy Award for Best Short Film (Animated) in 2020.