June 18, 2021

A new short film was released onto Netflix, called If Anything Happens I Love You. It is merely 12 minutes long, but it has a lot to say. 

If Anything Happens I Love You is about a married couple struggling to keep their lives together after losing their daughter due to a school shooting. At the beginning of the film, they are sitting at one end of the table, saying nothing. They have different fond memories of their daughter, which eventually unites them in their daughter’s room, and gives them peace. The only characters are the mother, father, and daughter, but there are also their alter egos, as I perceived them. They are shadowy figures of themselves that are a significant factor in the couple staying together. 

The short film– coincidentally released on Children’s Day, November 20– was written and directed by Michael Govier and Will McCormack. Govier and McCormack had a private screening with only themselves and survivors and family members affected by gun violence. Laura Dern, the producer, said that the “deep and primary focus” of the movie is to spread awareness and keep people talking about topics such as school shootings and gun violence so that more will be done by those in power. 
According to an article on The Tab, the movie is inspired by real life events. It mirrors the events that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at the school, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. In If Anything Happens I Love You, the couple’s daughter texts her parents as the shooting is happening, similar to what the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did.

Mother and father hugging their daughter. Credit to Gilbert Films.

If Anything Happens I Love You has a unique animation style. Everything looks like a sketch, which I theorized could be the daughter’s drawings. There is also very minimal to look at; it goes straight to the point and only shows what is important. Youngran Nho, animator and animation director spoke to Mashable in a recent Zoom conversation, saying “Because the film is really vulnerable and raw-feeling, I also wanted to make it look very raw and somehow unfinished, just like sketches.”

The background is also whitish-grey, with watercolour. It symbolizes the emptiness the parents feel, and also actual family members who have lost someone to school shootings. Most of the film is in black-and-white, with some things in vibrant colour. A stated before, there are fond memories that unite the couple together, and these trigger objects are in colour. The mother sees one of her daughter’s shirts, which is a light blue. It takes her back to when her family went on a road trip and viewed the sunset (which was a wonderful blend of oranges and reds). 

The father’s memories originate from a hole on the outside of their house. The hole is also a light blue. It happened when he and the daughter were playing soccer, him being the goalie; the daughter kicked it hard enough to create a dent in the wall, chipping off the paint. 

Another object in full colour is the American flag at the daughter’s school. This one made me react; It was like the film was taking a jab at the United States, which is understandable. According to an article on CNN, the U.S. has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined. If Anything Happens I Love You was clearly made as a message to the United States; practically shouting at them to do something about this, so that no other parent or sibling or aunt or uncle or cousin have to go through an experience like this; so that children do not have to be wary when going to school.

Shot of the hallway at the daughter’s school. Credit to Gilbert Films.

Everything about this film was meticulously planned, from the animation to the colour to even the music– which directs the story as there is no dialogue– and spreads the message of gun safety just as effectively, maybe even more so, than an hour and a half long film. I highly recommend you watch it. 

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