If Anything Happens I Love You

If Anything Happens I Love You

Dept. of Schoolyard Shootings


I’m trying so very hard for this not to be a rant. No, it’s not about this animated short which, at just 12 minutes, is probably one of the most powerful pieces of art you will see this year. No, I’m trying not to rant about everything this movie stands for and the impact it won’t have. But I’ll get to that.


Written and directed by Will McCormack (who also co-wrote Toy Story 4 with Rashida Jones) and Michael Govier, If Anything Happens I Love You tells the story of a grieving couple who have lost their 10-year-old daughter in a deadly school shooting. (Though not based on a true story, the title of the short appears to have been inspired by the text messages that students sent their parents during the Parkland school shooting in 2018.)

If Anything Happens I Love You

Rendered delicately in greyscale, and with absolutely no dialogue, the cartoon deftly depicts the anguish, misery, and crippling loneliness faced by this father and mother. As we gently weave through their memories, grappling with blame, and guilt, and regret, we watch as they come to grips with their heartbreak, and as they try their hardest to pull themselves back together again.

Every frame here is perfect. It is minimal, yet rich. It is sparse, yet complete. Every scene contains only the images, sounds, and music that are essential to this narrative. Every element has a part to play and absolutely nothing is wasted.

This is storytelling at its best. It is insightful. It is emotional. It is important. So why then does it feel so pointless?

If Anything Happens I Love You

Well, because America.

Because anywhere else in the world, great art has the ability to move people to action. But not in America. Not when it comes to guns. It is a right so ingrained into who they think they are that it doesn’t matter that children are dying. It is an acceptable price to pay for their freedom.


They’ll talk about the constitution. They’ll argue about culture. They’ll thump their chests about liberty. They’ll tell you that it’s not about guns, but about mental health. They’ll talk about root causes and consequences. All while we’re left wondering what it’ll take for common sense to finally prevail. How many children? How many schools? How many churches?

How many of these stories have we seen? All of them nuanced, and incisive, and beautifully told. All of them heartbreaking. And yet there they still are. In a country so ruled by ideology that even this year, under the direst of circumstances, it wasn’t that people changed their minds when going to the polls, there was just more of them that showed up from both sides.

If Anything Happens I Love You

When it comes to guns, nothing will ever change. Not ever. Not for rhyme and not for reason. So paint all you want. Write your poems. Make your movies. Blanket your social media feeds with solid black images. Like, and share, and retweet. But what good will it do?

Instead, this is what will happen. America will watch If Anything Happens I Love You, and for 12 minutes they might get angry, and upset, and cry. For a fleeting moment, they might even feel some sympathy (not empathy, that would be too much to ask) for all those who have lost their loved ones to gun violence. And then they’ll wait for that countdown to end and watch whatever Netflix throws up next.

If Anything Happens I Love You
12 minutes
Directors: Will McCormack and Michael Govier
Writers: Will McCormack and Michael Govier

If Anything Happens I Love You is now streaming on Netflix.

Uma has been reviewing things for most of his life: movies, television shows, books, video games, his mum's cooking, Bahir's fashion sense. He is a firm believer that the answer to most questions can be found within the cinematic canon. In fact, most of what he knows about life he learned from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He still hasn't forgiven Christopher Nolan for the travesties that are Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises.

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