There won’t be an animation or indeed film that will grab you as well as If Anything Happens I Love You does this year. This is a film that perfectly conveys the emotional pain of losing a loved one. A hauntingly beautiful 12 minutes.
Grieving parents battle through their daily routine after the loss of their child.
It is a simple synopsis and one that doesn’t really need additional wording as then too much is given away about it. A few times yesterday I was on Netflix and the animation graphic below was on the screen and it tempted me, but I put it off for hours. I thought about not watching the film and it wasn’t until late at night, did I decide to watch it. I won’t forget the decision to do so.
If Anything Happens I Love You has a wonderfully minimalist watercolour style that allows the images tell a better picture than a thousand words could ever do. The muted colours convey how sombre this story is, with greys populating the screen. The use of a white background causes the characters to feel like they are floating by. Carrying on with a limited focus, as if the world has narrowed and only what they directly see in front of them exists. This paleness on the screen causes a coldness to come over you. You know these two poor souls love each other, but they are broken people wandering through their daily life.
It is when blue comes onto the screen that the grief really begins to show. Be it from paint on the back wall of their house to a blue t-shirt. Blue brings the memories of what was once there. It is a reminder of the love that has been lost, the grief and harrowing reminder of death. Yet we also have yellows appear, bringing memories of better times, happier times. But, also hope. Hope that things will get better for people in this situation right now, not at first of course, but over time. It is a technique that is so simple that you can’t imagine it working as well as it does. Yet it doesn’t just work well, it works brilliantly.
The use of the shadows hanging over them arguing and fighting at the beginning before trying to console and persuade their human forms to interact with each other. As we venture into the past, these shadows remember so when we get to the heart crushing finale you break not for the humans, but the shadows. They are trying to halt something, but we do not know what. These shadows our our spirits. At the beginning our spirit is wounded and damaged, protecting itself rather than others. Over time memories and love comes back into our spirits and into ourselves.
While there are clear motivations to this story. The film actually transcends its purpose or at least the story it is telling. It evokes memories for those who have lost any loved one in their life. Indeed, it brought up thoughts and feelings of me losing my mother when I was in my early 20s. The parents needlessly feel guilt for letting happen what eventually happens. But they had no foresight into that the same as many people have guilt after losing a loved one. Myself, lost my mother when I was studying at university in a different country. I never got to be there as she suffered and the guilt and anger and hurt resided within over the months afterwards. By transcending its subject it becomes so much more than originally intended. Just wonderful.
Written and directed by Will McCormack and Michael Govier, If Anything Happens I Love You is a wordless short that transcends its purpose. A film that is an emotional gut punch to those who suffer from loss and simply put is unforgettable.
If Anything Happens I Love You is showing on Netflix now.
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