Warning: within the first few minutes of If Anything Happens I Love You, you will shed your first tear. By the credits, you will full on ugly cry.
If Anything Happens I Love You opens with a simple tableau : a couple sit silently across a dining table, aimlessly picking at their dinner, their attention everywhere else but on each other. Suddenly, their shadows emerge across the wall, screaming and fighting, intertwined in such a violent way that is a sharp juxtaposition to their solid counterparts. Clearly, their marriage has seen better days.
As the 12 minute animated short continues, we see the why: they are struggling over the loss of their daughter. We become privy to cherished memories – a soccer ball accident, a family trip to the Grand Canyon, the daughter’s first kiss. However, their memories reveal that the loss is not due to a childhood illness or a random accident. The daughter is a victim of a school shooting.
By the end, we are with the parents as they finally succumb to their grief, finding solace in each other as their shadows merge into one. Their mourning becomes our own, but it’s only a fraction of the reality that unfortunately many parents in the United States have been forced to face day in and day out.
Why We Need This Film
Without a single word of dialogue, If Anything Happens I Love You is a visceral exploration of loss and grief amid tragedy. Although the hashtag may stop trending, the protest is over, and we have moved on to the next cause, the pain is far from over for those who are left with an empty seat at the table. It’s an intimate and raw look at the aftermath, and how the otherwise mundane moments – like seeing a splotch of paint or finding a t-shirt in the dryer – trigger and devastate us.
We need to sit, watch this film, and endure these emotions because in this country, we still have a fight ahead of us to ensure that no family has to feel this pain again. That certain forces and organizations will place the 2nd amendment and the ability to own and operate weapons come over the safety and well-being of our own children, and that not even a pandemic will change that. Covid is not forever. Eventually, our children will return to school, return to what should be a safe environment.
If Anything Happens I Love You forces us to remember that we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past, and we cannot have another child become the next statistic.
If Anything Happens I Love You is streaming on Netflix. To learn more about gun violence prevention, visit Everytown today.
Julie believes great books should be read more than once and prides herself on finding the "dirty part" in any romance novel under a minute. Loves red wine but loves it more when shared with friends. Has an (embarrassingly) extensive knowledge about all things Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. Is currently curating the perfect playlists that ALWAYS include a song from one of the Twilight soundtracks.