If Anything Happens I Love You: Laura Dern’s Netflix animation is a heartbreaking watch

Posted by for Film

If Anything Happens I Love You is the animated short executive produced by Laura Dern that you very nearly missed on Netflix, but you’ll definitely want to catch up with it tonight.

When it comes to talking about grief, there are sometimes just no words. But there are times when, even though a person wants to reach out and talk, they don’t know how to even start that conversation. It’s important, however, to help create a society where individuals feel safe and comfortable in talking about loss if they want to. 

That’s why Laura Dern (Big Little Lies, Jurassic Park, Wild, Little Women) accepted the offer to executive produce Netflix’s new short film about grief, If Anything Happens I Love You

The 12-minute long animated short beautifully tells the heartbreaking story of two parents navigating life after the death of their 10-year-old daughter. It also focuses on the issue of gun violence in America, as the girl dies at school after a fellow pupil brings in a gun. Ultimately: it’s a devastating but vital watch for so many reasons.

Take a look at the trailer for If Anything Happens I Love You

Created by a team of all-female animators, the dialogue-free story shows a mum and dad plagued by the memories of their daughter in their home. Their own desperate shadows follow them around, hugging the mum when she breaks down in tears and leading the dad back to the daughter’s empty room. We learn that the last message their child sends says “If anything happens I love you” when someone brings a gun into her school. 

As we watch the parents reflect on the girl’s life leading up to that devastating moment, it’s a stark reminder of just how omnipresent the fear of gun violence still is in 2020, and the unimaginable grief it causes. 

Speaking about her decision to work with writers and directors Michael Govier and Will McCormack on the project, Dern told Variety: “I was saying to a friend whose family was going through immense grief from a tragically untimely loss, ‘Isn’t it amazing that there’s the language around the birds and the bees? We joke about it and it’s a breeze compared to how to talk to children about grieving – this unknown language and no one has prepared us for it.’ 

“The way the filmmakers and the animators captured that untold story of grieving and how we live amongst memory, was so palpable.”

Talking about her support for Everytown for Gun Safety, Dern added: “Their work is extraordinary. They’ve rallied the masses. They’ve figured out how to make us palpably aware of how we can make a difference.”

Although it’s not the most uplifting or entertaining watch on Netflix, it’s definitely well worth clicking on and taking 15 minutes to be moved by its delicate illustrations and important message.

If Anything Happens I Love You is available to watch on Netflix now.

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Images: Netflix

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…