Grief is a universal emotion.
The issue of gun violence is perhaps more prevalent in the United States now more than ever, and until laws are changed it will continue to effect the lives of countless families. As of last year nearly 1200 children in the states had been victims of gun violence and whether that number looks small or large to you, the bottom line is, it should be zero. In this short film, two parents of a young girl find themselves stuck in a period of mourning after their daughter loses her life during a school shooting.
Through a very simplistic animation style, writer/directors Michael Govier and Will McCormack pour pure emotion into a runtime of just twelve minutes, that admittedly feels longer, it being incredibly easy to fall head-first into the void that the short creates around its characters, the mother and father that find themselves untethered from each other, bound apart by a distance they can’t bridge without acceptance of what has transpired; probably the hardest thing they could do.
Without any dialogue whatsoever, the short’s animation provides exposition with abstract visuals and interpretive expressions of each of the three characters and the echoes of each of them. Call them shadows, past echoes or even souls, but as these silent shadows dance around the mother and father without being seen, and then resurrect their daughter too, they take us on a journey of memories, that serves as both healing and pain for the traumatised couple.
The short’s use of colour is one of its most interesting components, with most of it’s cinematography dominated by muted tones and monochromatic imagery, the small injections of colour are often indicative of those vibrant memories that the mother and father hold of their daughter.
If Anything Happens I Love You is a powerful and wordless message of the implications of unnecessary and tragic violence and at the same time a tale of an unknown family struggle to fight through the battle of grief. If you can take just twelve minutes out of your day to experience this you’ll no doubt be moved by it’s emotional poignancy.
If Anything Happens I Love You is now available to stream on Netflix*.
Animation, Short | USA, 2020 | PG | 12 minutes | Netflix* | Dir.Michael Govier, Will McCormack