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IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU gets 9/10 A tragic masterpiece


Directed by Will McCormack and Michael Govier

Network: Netflix

9/10

This American animated film is approximately thirteen minutes long and written/directed by Michael Govier and Will McCormack – the latter being an American actor, and co-writer of Pixar’s Toy Story 4 (2019). The story follows two parents who have grown distant after the unexpected death of their teenage daughter. Within their grief, they refuse to express themselves, which is represented in shadows which mime, and puppet their true emotions.

Whilst doing the laundry, the mother picks out her daughter’s shirt and is gripped by the emotions she has been neglecting. As the song 1950 by King Princess begins to play in her daughter’s room, she is drawn in, facing her grief head on – and here she reunites with her husband. Their cat begins to play around, as the shadow of their daughter springs to life, becoming the catalyst for their memories. We are then carried through flashbacks; from birth, to their daughter enjoying soccer, to her first kiss, to the point she leaves for high school.

Knowing what’s about to happen, the shadow-parents frantically try to stop their daughter from entering the school, until they finally disappear, troubled and pained. Inside the school we see an American flag, and soon gunshots and children screaming are heard – their daughter’s final text appears on screen: “If anything happens I love you.” When we return to the parents, we see that they’ve been brought together by the memory of their daughter and her light.

This short film has absolutely no dialogue, and yet, with visceral animation and sound design, it pulls you into an emotional vortex. The concept, and true nature of the story, is just too poignant and tragic, that all audiences will connect on some level. This short animation weaves artistry, storytelling, meaning, and emotion in such a powerful way it can bring you to tears in ways no Hollywood movie can.

JOSHUA HALL HAINES

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