I was approximately two minutes into the remarkable animated short film If Anything Happens I Love You when I shed my first tear, a single solitary tear of familiarity and empathy toward these characters, animated characters, I'd just met and the piercing, enveloping grief they wore in their animated skin that seemed so real.
I was lost. To be honest, I was completely lost.
I'd forgotten that these weren't real people, or at least not people of flesh and blood and bones.
I'd forgotten that this wasn't a real story, though I suppose in very tangible ways you could say that it's very, very real.
I'd become so completely immersed in these beings and their stories and their feelings and this world that I surrendered myself to it and for the entirety of the film's 13 minutes I became transformed by it.
Currently screening as a finalist during the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival, If Anything Happens I Love You is more than simply one of the best films of Indy Shorts in 2020. In fact, it's more than one of the best animated films of 2020.
I'd dare call If Anything Happens I Love You one of the best animated films. Ever.
If Anything Happens I Love You is a perfect weaving together of artistry and purpose, meaning and mission. It's an animated masterpiece, so wondrously constructed that I dare not mention a flaw and it's a film that I want to watch again and again and again.
Co-written and directed by Michael Govier and Will McCormack, If Anything Happens I Love You picked up the Best Animated Short Film prize at the Omaha Film Festival and has been featured at multiple other fests prior to its arrival here in Indy for this week's virtual but still remarkably kick-ass Indy Shorts International Film Festival. Truthfully, if you know me and if you know anything about this short then my complete love and respect for If Anything Happens I Love You won't exactly be a surprise but, truthfully, I seldom award my A+/4 Star rating and this film completely earns it in every way possible.
The storytelling is simple yet extraordinary, every animated gesture and expression and movement meaningful and literally every second filled with substance and meaning and heart and more than a little heartbreak. We follow a couple, a man and a woman, seemingly immersed in a grief initially undescribed yet before long we can feel and we can see and we can imagine.
It's remarkable. It's unfathomable. It's real.
Animation Director Youngran Nho's team has created an animated marvel filled with personality and life and spirit and what feels like cinematic breath. This story is so vividly brought to life that it feels miraculous and every element that is present is done so to perfection. Original music by Lindsay Marcus is sublime, while Peter Ettinger's editing lingers in all the right places and yet cuts with equal precision. A performance by the Los Angeles Children's Orchestra is a heart-tugger, while songs performed by King Princess and MARKS add to the film's immersive aura.
Both Govier and McCormack may, and likely will, in their professional lives as familiar actors/writers/producers/directors do projects that will gain them more fame and familiarity, money and rewards. Yet, perhaps, a remarkable project like If Anything Happens I Love You should be their true calling card, a project that weaves a tapestry of artistic wonder and integrity with a story that matters and imagery that honors truth and grief and life and community. With support by Executive Producer Laura Dern and other familiar faces like Rashida Jones and Chelsea Handler, Govier and McCormack don't just honor the lives of others but imagine a better world and commit themselves to creating it.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic