Three Unique Films Find Netflix

A review on the three unique short animated films that came onto Netflix recently.


Picture of the film covers taken by Haripriya Kemisetti as screenshots from Netflix

Short and powerful. With words or without. As a new way to tell a story with emotion-loaded scenes and colorful graphics, these animated short films express society’s pain and problems. This new media has been growing in popularity among the public and Netflix has hopped onto the new trend of these films by adding three new films within the past year. 


Released on December 11, 2020, Frank Abney III’s “Canvas” is a touching film about an old man that is grieving the loss of his wife as he finds the inspiration to reclaim his passion for painting. His granddaughter persuades him to paint once again when both of them find an old painting. The relatable story discusses the difficulties of pursuing a passion after a tragedy occurs, and that strength and creativity can be found in the most surprising places.

The 9-minute film has gentle instrumental music in the background and does not have any dialogue; only the sounds of the motions are audible. By making this choice, Abney strips away the typical conventions of filmmaking and expresses raw emotion without any distractions. It is this effect that makes the film unique and powerful. The last minutes of the film are the credits. It is a G-rated film and comes under the genres: family features, children and family movies, and drama.

If anything happens I love you

Released on November 20, 2020, Will McCormack’s “If anything happens I love you” film is about the journey of two grieving parents as they cope with the loss of their child, who was a victim of a school shooting. Viewers watch as the parents mourn their child, and slowly drift apart. As the parents grow apart, the child’s shadow attempts to pull them together. As the story unravels, the parents begin to appreciate the time they had with their daughter and find comfort in each other, which makes the daughter’s shadow glow with love because that is what she would have wanted. The 12-minute film discusses the importance of living each minute to its fullest because one does not know what will happen in the future; it is important to relish the good times.

The sorrow-filled story, like Canvas, is without dialogue, which is powerful in itself because the parents are at a loss for words; they are haunted by the shadows of the past and cannot seem to confront the reality: their child is no longer with them. McCormack adds slow gentle instrumental music in the background to enhance the raw emotion being displayed. With over four million views, the film has become a part of the TikTok challenge “I bet you can’t watch this movie without crying.” The last minute of the film includes the credits. It is a PG-rated film that comes under the genres: adult animation, drama, and a tearjerker.

Cops and Robbers

Unlike “Canvas” and “If anything happens I love you,”  Arnon Manor’s “Cops and Robbers” is a film about more than coping with death. It is about the struggles of black Americans. The film is about police brutality, which has become a popular topic after George Floyd’s death, which led to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. This piece, however, is a response to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The film’s powerful message is displayed through a slam poetry-like dialogue and various graphics. The camera constantly goes back and forth between the graphics and Timothy Warhill, displaying the pain. The storyline also focuses on common childhood memories to appeal to the viewers’ emotions and show how skin color impacts people’s lives. The last 4 minutes of the 7-minute film are credits. The film is a PG-13 rated film that comes under the genres: adult animation, drama, and social issues drama.