‘If Anything Happens I Love You’ review: A gorgeous, but challenging short to watch

The Netflix animated short film not only tugs at your heartstrings, but also has an important message to share

December 03, 2020 01:49 pm | Updated 01:51 pm IST

A still from ‘If Anything Happens I Love You’

A still from ‘If Anything Happens I Love You’

Netflix’s 12-minute animated film If Anything Happens I love You is being lauded globally for its touching portrayal of two parents coping with the loss of their daughter.

But that is not all there is to the heart-wrenching short.

The reverse chronological sequence of events reveal at the end of the film, that the daughter was killed at a school shooting incident, highlighting the pressing issue of gun violence prevalent in America.

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We find out that the title If Anything Happens I Love You , were the daughter’s last words to her parents, as she sends them the message on her phone minutes before gunshots are heard in the background.

The silent film effectively captures the characters’ emotions, but what moves the audience besides the touching story, are the minimalistic visuals where the characters’ shadows are used in place of dialogues, and King Princess’ single 1950 that plays at a pivotal moment in the film: all the right ingredients for a tear-jerker.

California Institute of Arts student Youngran Nho was hired as the art director and animator for the project, and her artistic approach to the delicate subject contributes heavily to the atmosphere of the film. Nho was inspired by the Academy Award-winning short Father and Daughter which was a black-and-white animated offering.

The animator opts for a simple water color background to give the short a rustic and raw feel. The only colors used are blue, to signify the daughter, and the American flag, that carries a heavy message about the ubiquity of this issue in the country.

The writer and director of the film, Michael Govier and Will McCormack, consulted with Everytown for Gun Safety, an American non-profit organisation that advocates against gun violence, while developing the script. They also spoke with several parents whose children were victims of school shootings and gun violence to appropriately translate their feelings to film.

Hollywood star Laura Dern too came on board as the executive producer of the short film after being involved with the non-profit organisation. “They [directors] were able to capture the theme of grief in a way that transcended animation and transcended film which is so rare to experience,” said Dern in an interview with Variety.

With its striking message , If Anything Happens I Love You is being considered as a front-runner for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film along with Canvas and Cops and Robbers.

If Anything Happens I Love You is currently streaming on Netflix


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