Netflix’s New Original Short Film, If Anything Happens I Love You, is a Symbolism Masterpiece

Isabelle Washington, Contributing Writer

In November of this year, Netflix came out with one of their shortest films to date. The animated short film had many people talking but more notably, many people in tears. If Anything Happens I Love You follows two parents, torn apart by the grief of losing a child to gun violence. The parents must navigate the memories, the trauma and learn how to move forward without their daughter. This film covers so many heavy topics and does so in such a heartwarming way. Every person should watch this film as a way to understand the tragic effects that school shootings can have on a family. This film will give viewers a newfound respect for silence and the volume of the concept itself.

Throughout the film we follow the two parents attempting to overcome the blow which their daughter’s death has had on their relationship. Following them are two ghostly reflections of themselves, constantly bickering with one another. Not a single word is spoken and the animators still clearly get the message across. As you watch, you see more and more memories from a happy family of 3. Suddenly, viewers are shown a scene of the parents waving their daughter goodbye as she walks into the school. The ghostly figures seen throughout the film do everything in their power to hold the daughter back and stop her from walking into the school. The figures are unsuccessful, and the daughter finally steps into the building. From a view of an empty hallway viewers hear complete silence. To gunfire. To screams. To chaos. And a text message pops up from the daughter reading “If anything happens I love you”. 

The symbolism is so smart and creative, it may take a couple of watches for viewers to fully grasp everything it has to say. I was amazed by how many small and intricate details the animators could include, while maintaining the film’s simplicity. In one of the first scenes, the grieving parents are pictured sitting on opposite sides of their dining table. The two pick at their plates, essentially just pushing the food around and avoiding eye contact with one another. On my second watch I noticed that in the middle of the table sat a vase with wilted flowers. It occurred to me that these flowers were there to represent the deceased daughter who is missing from the scene. This symbolism struck me and the scene, though so simple, caused me to feel immense pain for the fictional family.

I would recommend this film to any person looking for something emotional about real life events. The film fully delivered and in all honesty, left me in tears. However, some might find the film lacking on some fronts, due to the simplistic animations and no words spoken throughout the entire film. All in all, I would rate this film an 8/10 for its striking cinematography and importance to the modern world. If Anything Happens I Love You is a short with lots of beautiful imagery and subtle symbolism that will leave viewers in tears. Though being a film of little watch time, you will leave with a lesson learned and a whole new perspective gained.