Fantasia 2019: Swallow

Swallow (2019) 1h 34min | Drama | 28 April 2019 (USA) Summary: Hunter, a newly pregnant housewife, finds herself increasingly compelled to consume dangerous objects. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she must confront the dark secret behind her new obsession.
Countries: USA, FranceLanguages: English

A young pregnant woman begins the habit of ingesting random objects in Swallow. Hunter (Haley Bennett) is a young woman who has a seemingly happy life with her husband Richie (Austin Stowell), who comes from a wealthy and successful family. Soon after moving into a new house, Hunter discovers that she is pregnant. It isn’t long afterwards that Hunter begins to swallow random objects she finds around the house. While Richie and his parents (David Rasche and Elizabeth Marvel) try to find treatment as quickly as possible, it soon becomes apparent that Hunter has unresolved issues that need to be addressed.

Swallow is a drama starring Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train) as a young woman, who begins some apparent self-destructive behaviour after discovering she is pregnant. Through her talks with psychiatrist Alice (Zabryna Guevara), we learn that Hunter’s compulsion for swallowing objects comes from a guilt complex surrounding how she was born. While the best cure for this would be love and affection, Hunter’s husband Richie seems more concerned with how this compulsion inconveniences the lives of himself and his parents.

Swallow has been generating a bit of a reputation involving the scenes of Hunter ingesting objects causing some viewers to faint. However, even though there are some cringe-inducing moments, I would argue that this is a hyperbolic response that overshadows the fact that this is a nuanced drama about a young woman on the verge of a mental breakdown. For me, Swallow is a film that sees Haley Bennett come into her own and you can probably expect great things from this actress in the years to come.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).