One of the bigger more interesting memes at Tiktok right now is the “#IfAnythingHappensILoveYouChallenge.” This particular meme involves a person or people filming themselves before and filming themselves after watching “If Anything Happens I Love You” on Netflix. Every video so far has shown each viewer beginning the movie with a nervous smirk and closing the video with teary eyes. Some of the users are nearly inconsolable afterward. If you didn’t think a short film could legitimately derive so many emotions from viewers, well them you probably have never seen “If Anything Happens I Love You.”
The short animated movie is probably the most gut wrenching, and heartbreaking short form film I’ve ever seen. If you need something to compare it to, imagine the prologue to “Up” but infinitely sadder. It’s a marvel that it’s on Netflix and being given such huge exposure. Whether accidental, or planned, Will McCormack’s and Michael Gorvier’s tale of two parents grieving the loss of their only child is a film everyone can relate to. It’s a film bereft of filler, or simple solutions. What it examines is a horrible situation, an inexplicable act of violence, and how the best we can do is hold on to one another through the hard times.
There’s very little emphases on the “who” and the “what” involving the trio of characters in “If Anything Happens I Love You” and that’s a stellar element. It allows the audience to relate the general narrative easily, and lets us click in to the emotional turmoil being endured. Even if you’ve never been a parent in your life, it’s easy to connect to the near timeless void that the film is set in.
Told through a mixture of flashbacks, and alternate scenarios, we meet two parents that are still trying to rebuild after the death of their daughter. A lot of what’s not spoken between them begins to surface, as they find her shirt, stumble in to old places where she wiled away her days playing soccer, and of course, get lost in her favorite record. There is also the final hours before she’d lost her life in a school shooting. A lot of “If Anything Happens I Love You” leads in to the whole “What if” conundrums involving school shootings.
There are the thoughts on what if they’d been earlier or later to school that day? What if they didn’t go to school at all? What if they’d given them one more hug? One more kiss? Told them how much they cherish them? All the parents here know is that they’ll never have the chance to hold their daughter again, and the rift her loss creates amounts to genuinely strong emotions about finding a reason to keep going when someone we adore is gone. What do you do to move on? How do you move on? When do you (and can you) begin to pick up the pieces?
The Laura Dern produced animated short doesn’t confront the idea of school shootings, so much as it confronts the massive gaping loss we experience when we’ve lost a child to senseless, horrible violence. Whether intentional or not, everything around the death of child also begins to die in the aftermath, and fallout. This is an added element to the narrative that makes it even more emotionally turbulent, especially as the directors give credence to the memory of the film’s young victim aching to keep the last remnants of her happy life in tact.
“If Anything Happens I Love You” is a masterpiece of a drama, it’s a movie that brilliantly explores the immense amount of grief, loss, and sadness that emerges from a horrendous school shooting. It’s pitch perfect in its look at struggling to move on, and looking for some kind of light in the darkness.
If you can make it through the entire twelve minutes without pausing to breathe, “If Anything Happens I Love You” is a masterpiece worth seeking out.
Now Streaming on Netflix.