Short films for many (Myself included) are very hit or miss, whilst some produce special things they rarely are able to rival the quality of a full length film with a massive production team and astoundingly high budget. However after watching the outpour of reaction all over social media I just had to give Netflix’s ‘If anything happens I love you’ a shot. It blew my expectations well and truly out of the water.
Being such a humble and simple cartoon piece from the outset this twelve minute short proves to make the finest possible usage of simplistic visuals and absolutely no dialogue in order to propel it’s gut wrenching experience even higher than imaginable upon beginning.
Following the tragic loss of their daughter the film follows the grieving process of two parents left with nothing but a text message and memories of a life cut short. Flashing between the past and the present this haunting journey begins with the two parents sitting alone at opposite ends of the dinner table and ends with the gut wrenching text message they receive in the wake of an unforeseen tragedy, ‘If anything happens I love you’.
The extraordinary journey undertaken in this film absolutely surpasses expectation and Gary Gilbert along with Gerald Chamales have been able to make a seemingly humble twelve minute short film feel like a lifetime. For any whom have lost a loved one, whatever the circumstances, this film depicts the journey through grief, loss and the life found after in one of the most immensely profound ways possible as these two parents must find a way to continue their journey without their missing piece.
The cartoonish look of this film is absolutely perfect and works unbelievably well to no doubt pull emotion from even the most cynical of viewers. The added value of a beautiful soundtrack cannot be ignored either, as ‘If anything happens I love you’ travels along the music becomes increasingly powerful in the build up to a heartbreaking climax.
From a completely stylistic approach ‘If anything happens I love you’ succeeds on all absolutely all fronts and in my opinion does not set a single step in the wrong direction, its beautiful animation and illustration choice demonstrates that a big budget or hyper-complex plotline does not inherently mean a top quality experience. In many ways this type of stylistic decision making is relatively unseen and therefore why it is quite simply jaw-dropping to see it done so well in the face of such a tough subject matter.
This animated short feels more like a prayer than a film and throughout it’s course chooses to show rather than tell, opting to build wonderfully towards its central ideal and purpose rather than lay all out to see from the onset. This film will spark conversation (Both internal and external) in all whom watch it and rises to the occasion of its powerful storyline and subject with perfectly crafted animation and illustration techniques. It is extremely rare that I find myself so blown away by a short film and I doubt there will be another like it for a very very long time. A piece that struggles to take a wrong step and now sits easily in the must watch category of its genre.