On November 20, a short film called “If Anything Happens I Love You,” aired on Netflix which made me, and so many other viewers cry as we watched how the parents grieve over the loss of their child in a school shooting.
The directors Will McCormack and Michael Govier did a phenomenal job in making the viewers understand such an emotional topic without words while using just animations and music. They also came up with this brilliant concept of using shadows to represent the parent’s real emotions. For instance, at the beginning of the film, the shadow of the husband and wife were yelling and shouting at each other but in real life, they were just unhappily eating their food.
The short film begins with the husband and wife sitting at a long dinner table eating their meals far away from each other. They usually were not in the same room for more than a couple of minutes as one of them would usually stand up and leave the room. From there, the film starts to walk us through the life of their daughter from birthdays, to her first kiss, leading up to the day of the school shooting.
Mckenzie Ashford, an eighth-grade student, attends the homeschooling program, “Inspire”. For Ashford, this short film affected her deeply as well despite the fact that she is enrolled in a homeschooling program.
“When watching the film, I felt so bad for the parents and without realizing it, put myself in their shoes as if it had happened to me,” said Ashford.
If Anything Happens I Love You reminded me a lot about the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that occurred in 2012. The age group in the film was very similar to the one in the actual event. Many parents were heavily affected by the shooting and Sebastian Torres, a junior at DVC, understood where they were coming from a little bit more because of the film.
Torres mentioned that when he would watch the news about acts of gun violence, he always thought of the victims but after watching the short film, he thought of how terrible it must be to be the parent of a child who lost their kid in a school shooting.
The most emotional part of the film was definitely when the daughter texted her mom “If anything happens, I love you.” A second after, a gunshot goes off and the screen goes black while flashes of red and blue begin to appear on the screen. Marynel Arias, a junior at DVD, was trying to figure out the meaning of the title.
“Through the entire film, I had to ask myself why the writer chose to title this film ‘If anything happens, I love you’,” said Arias. “I always thought that it was titled that way because the character’s parents were separating. But the end was really unexpected and that [was] when I got the actual meaning of the movie.”
Something that stood out to me in the film was how everything was in black and white, but they put certain objects in color probably as some type of symbolic representation of something. For example, the scenes with her daughter in them had color and when they went to her room after she died, there was a blue shirt. I took it as if their daughter was the light of their life and without her, everything is in black and white. Another time they used color is the American flag inside their school. Right after, there were gunshots and students screaming which I thought was representing the problem with gun violence in this country.
“If Anything Happens I Love You,” was one of the best short films I’ve ever watched. The fact that it was 12 minutes long and it made me feel so emotional is just unbelievable. I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to understand gun violence from a different point of view. This new perspective is important so people can understand how the loss of a child due to school shootings will heavily impact a parent for the rest of their lives.