Swallow (2019) Poster

(I) (2019)

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No horror no thrill but a good drama
jamsven22 March 2020
Don´t expect any horror and thill. It´s a drama movie which contains a good portrait of a traumatized woman. Not more or less.
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First review in my life
u-me-can-b9 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I never felt the urge to leave a review here due to many reasons, English is not my native language and I'm bad with describing my emotions accurately, but this film drove me to this point. You want it to end good for this girl so bad, cant say i have the same struggles as her but i GET it and in a way I cheered her on even though its all so horrible. Cried my eyes out at the ending because its was all right for the first time in her life and we got to see the light burst out of her beautiful eyes. Exceptional acting by Haley Bennett, the visuals are to die for. Will be one of my all time favorites.
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Autonomy: The Movie
DjMethod9 November 2019
An extremely self-aware A-to-Z psychological thriller about taking back your life through rituals of control, complete with patriarchal caricatures and metaphors of intrusion left and right (think Aronofsky's "mother!"--but a dark comedy).

Approaches the level of Snakes on a Plane or Teeth on self-aware high-concept absurdity, yet manages to be taken seriously thanks to a great performance by lead actress Haley Bennett, lush cinematography, and a constant stream of creative ways to push the autonomy message over the top (the first frames of the film are close-ups of farm-to-plate preparation of lamb meat).

Swallow is destined to be a cult-classic. It's the quintessentially bold, fun, and unique indie film festival offering (Anna and the Apocalypse was that film for me last year).

Highly recommended, but not for the squeamish.
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Went down badly
kepeb18 March 2020
In what could have been a very interesting exploration of Pica, the psychological disorder, the writers chose to tack in some arbitrary larger causation ark and it simply did not work. The performances were great, all around, the visual style and pace aren't the problem either.

Unfortunately the characters are one-dimensional caricatures who are not explored enough to justify the actions of themselves or the lead. In the end, the curiosity of the main theme is played down to focus on an apparent moral message.

It's great when movies have a message, but when they fake it, it undermines the whole experience. In this case it appears they had no idea what they were trying to communicate and this leaves you feeling very cheated. More so than if they had simply presented a stylised series of unconnected events.
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almost good
natcalgary13 March 2020
The acting and visuals are great. the story line lacked that punch that could have made this a 7 or 8.

the story is sad but just didn't connect with me and i was dissapointed with the end

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Great portrait of a person/woman who wants to get control over her life
allleksandra14 December 2019
Just saw it on Belgrade Independent American Movies short festival.

Very emotional topic. How our past can influence our present life and how trying to be perfect in each aspect of life can bring to different disorders.

Intelligent movie, gives a lot to think about.

Had a short and emotional chat with an author and would like to thank him for this wonderful movie.
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Interesting Character Study of a Woman with No Control
david_rudy_lee2 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This was a film that kicked off the Nightmares Film Festival that I had the pleasure of attending. I really didn't know a lot about this one, aside from that it had an interesting title. I did learn that this was the first screening that was outside of New York City, which is cool. The synopsis is Hunter (Haley Bennett), 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.

As the synopsis states, we get to meet our main character Hunter through some interesting interactions. Her husband is Richie (Austin Stowell) and he's the youngest director at the firm that his father is in charge of. His father is Michael (David Rasche) and his mother being Katherine (Elizabeth Marvel). Hunter is not from the same class as them, so she feels out of place. There's even an interesting interaction at a fancy dinner where she is meekly telling a story where Michael cuts her off. She is trying to impress Richie and his family as she doesn't fit in.

She then starts to eat things. It starts with a marble and then progresses to things that are much more dangerous like thumbtacks and batteries. When her and husband go to an ultrasound, they notice the foreign items inside. She's taken to emergency surgery to have them removed. This infuriates Richie, as Hunter doesn't know why she's doing this and he's embarrassed. Hunter is upset with him when he shares what is happening with those he works with. She is then taken to therapy as well as having Luay (Laith Nakli), a nurse, to take care of her.

Through multiple sessions, some interesting information from her past is revealed. They also don't realize that she is continuing to eat these items. She wants to keep Richie happy, but the more she tries, the more she descends into this madness that has taken her over.

Now I wanted to go a little bit vague on the recap here and just kind of outline the general idea. Part of this is being a festival film and also, I really want you to see this and experience the reveals. Something that I picked up on and I don't really think it is a spoiler as it gets revealed pretty early on as well as through the interactions Hunter is having. She doesn't feel that she in control of her life. Since she's trying so hard to impress everyone, she doesn't think of what makes her happy and she probably doesn't even know. On top of that, Richie and his family are rich so they have a high standard there and they're very judgmental.

I will warn you though, this film really will be decisive. What happens at the end is actually a hot button issue and many people are definitely against this. I actually liked where this went and is definitely empowering her as a woman. There's also a sad reveal during an interaction with Erwin (Denis O'Hare) that made me tear up. This film does an excellent job at making you feel bad for Hunter, but also feeling hope for the future for her.

That will take me to the pacing of this, which I will admit is a bit slow. A lot of that is the type of film. We don't really have a lot going on, but we do in the form of learning about this character and her troubles. This is really a character study of Hunter so we get introduced to her and her situation. It doesn't really waste any time seeing her start eating objects and the effect it has on her. Once her family finds out, it really becomes her becoming a prisoner in her own life. As I said, I really like the character growth there and how this plays out in the end for sure.

This then will move us to the acting, which I would say the best performance by far is our star. Bennett is such a pretty woman and it looks like she has it all. It doesn't take long to see that she is quite timid and seems like she's put up with a lot in her life. I like to see her start to take back control to grow into what she becomes in the end. Stowell seems like the perfect husband, but we get glimpses that she's really a jerk. That grows with the film. I thought Marvel and Rasche do well as the overbearing parents of Richie as well. They really portray that feel of being snobby. I thought we had some really good cameos from O'Hare as well as Luna Lauren Velez. I'm a big fan of O'Hare from his stint on American Horror Story. The rest of the cast is fine and round out the movie for what was needed.

Next would be the effects that are used in the film. To be honest, this isn't a film like that and it doesn't have a lot. We actually see Hunter put the items in her mouth, but things are then hidden. I think this is definitely a strategic move that works. We see that she actually collects the items from the toilet as well. I do have to give credit to make up as there's a scene of her eating and seeing her as she is broken down. Plus the little bit of blood we get looked real as well. The film though is definitely shot very well and I have to say we get some interesting angles and use of color.

Now with that said, I actually really enjoyed this film and kicking off this festival with it really intrigued me for what is to come next. I think this is definitely an interesting character study of this woman that seems like she's happy, but never dealt with past traumas until now. It is paced in a way where it kept things moving, but not a lot necessarily happens. I like how it ends and I think there's some really good acting here. There weren't a lot in the way of effects, but what we get was good. The soundtrack didn't necessarily stand out. It doesn't hurt the film though either. I found this to be a good movie for sure. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but I think if you like types of films like this than you can definitely find some interesting things here.
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Loads of Fake Reviews Warning
vonschmeel13 March 2020
This film is dull from start to finish, then it just ends. there is no real plot at all. its miserable, you have been warned
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I can't recommend this. Too sick and sad
rebeccax514 March 2020
The lead actress is good, the production is high quality, but I was just too grossed out by it. The ending was idiotic. I had to watch the ending the next day because 2/3 the way through, I had to turn it off.

People that liked this are very weird. Had there been any redemption or education in the film, about the topic it might has been better. It could have actually helped the world understand a horrid pathology as depicted, but instead it almost glorifies self-abuse as the awful ending was encouraging terrible thinking.

It's not clever or funny, as some reviews suggest. It's not funny at all. Sick pandering about sad people. Not since that horrible movie "Crash" about crazy people who enjoyed being in auto accidents, has a movie been that repulsive.
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Amazing film about the affects of trauma on mental illness!!! Brilliant!
kcampbellforlife6 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
A user here quoted the movie as "Dumb girl, scores rich dude, gets pregnant realizes she hates being a housewife so she endangers child by swallowing more and more extreme bits around the house. Yep, about par for the course for the modern liberal woman."

Did you understand the movie at all????? This film is about the profound consequences of trauma and how it affects mental illness. When she is swallowing things, it has nothing to do with wanting to endanger the child. The issue wasn't that she hates being a housewife; the issue is that she doesn't know who she is related to her past.

Thank you for the very shallow review though.
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Don't waste your time...
charahvan19 March 2020
This movie has potential but is done poorly, the first half is somewhat decent and watchable but it really goes downhill from there.

It's just boring, slow and predictable.
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Not the film I was expecting at all
jtindahouse7 March 2020
I really wish IMDb didn't have horror and thriller tags for this movie. It is neither of those things and that is going to encourage the wrong type of people to see this film. I went in expecting a horror vibe, and ended up enjoying the actual product a lot more than I suspect I would've the alternative.

This is a character study, and a really good one at that. Haley Bennett is terrific in the lead role. I love that it showcases the point that even if you have everything a lot of people aspire to get - wealth, marriage, not having to work etc. - that it far from guarantees happiness. It's the old adage of "Be careful what you wish for". The "Swallow" aspect of this movie is really only there for a point of difference. I understand why they have to name the movie that, but I genuinely believe it would be better off if they'd gone with something different.

The ending of this film was the highlight for me. It was handled in such a classy and thought-provoking way. Not everyone may feel satisfied with it and would prefer more of a justice angle to have been taken, but I really liked it. This wasn't the kind of film for the justice angle. I hope people don't go into this film expecting one thing, getting another, and being upset with the film for that. I liked this film and lot and would recommend giving it a look.
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superb, special, not for everyone
ops-525358 March 2020
Though the pica syndrome have always fascinated me, and in retrospect, ive had a few laughs about my wifes picas, and anti picas.

its a film well made, well acted, but with some sound glitches especially the score.

have a look either being on the brink of pregnancy, or if you just as old and grumpy as i am.

its a recommend
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Worst movie ever!
psxexperten15 March 2020
The movie starts with a frustrated woman who swallow all kinds of objects. Boring garbage from beginning to end, don't watch this stinker. The best part was the end sequence from the ladies toilet where women where coming, leaving and washing their hands for approximately 5 minutes. That maybe give you a clue about how interesting this movie is.
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Nothing happens, super boring and dull
martingraws25 March 2020
Nothing happens at all, is one of those "artsy" craps extremely slow, implausible dialogs, an absolute borefest to the end...
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Impossible to empathise with main character
marthasarah5521 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I understood how out of control Hunter felt, and I won't judge her pica disorder as this is what made the film interesting, but her decision in the end scene paints her as a selfish, immature person and it's very difficult to empathize with her. I fail to see what type of control over her life she believes she actually gained. So she will go back to her retail job and be a wage slave ? Is this freedom ? Whilst her husband was not a nice guy, I fell as though she simply traded one bad apple for the other. It also felt like cheap revenge to kill her unborn baby simply because she wanted freedom from her past life. There must have been a third option for her and I feel as though she did not have the capacity for introspection required from someone who find themselves unhappy and in need of control over their life. The actress did an outstanding job in this role and she was the only thing that made the movie watchable.
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A movie about struggling to get free
canadude8 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
As several users point out, "Swallow" is about a woman struggling for control and autonomy in a situation in which she increasingly has less and less of it - or, to put it more accurately, a situation in which she is subject to others' control more and more. So, at the same time, this is a movie about the social control over women, exerted by society.

The control exercised over the main character manifests in different ways. It manifests in the the main character Hunter's husband dismissing her every time she tries to share a thought or idea. It manifests in the husband's parents' constant reminders that they are the source of the lavish lifestyle she enjoys now that she's married their son. It manifests in the oppressive upper class atmosphere, in which she's expected to be perfect, to say little, and to entertain his husband's friends and relatives. It manifests in her husbands outbursts when she makes a mistake and, let's face it, in the way she becomes secondary to the child she has in her belly. Then, increasingly, once they learn of Hunter's swallowing of various objects, it begins to manifest more directly, as Hunter and his parents attempt to control and surveil her behavior inside the house. Finally, control manifests in the trauma that drives her increasingly self-destructive behavior, stemming from an event in the past that also concerns power men have over women.

Not only men try to control Hunter - her husband's mother is particularly terrifying here, communicating how little worth Hunter has without her husband under the guise of being her ally. But that is the point - patriarchy is a system of belief so ingrained that everyone is susceptible here. At the same time, she finds a real ally in a male nurse paid by the family to watch over her, from a war torn country who understands oppression.

But to see "Swallow" as simply a movie about control is to miss its focus, which is on the lengths people will go to for a measure of independence and autonomy. From swallowing various objects to a decision Hunter makes near the end of the film, particularly juxtaposed against her dark back story, "Swallow" is about reclaiming choice. And all of this works, especially as it becomes increasingly twisted, because of Haley Bennett's performance and the austere cinematography.
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Unexpected small masterpiece
megiew17 March 2020
The summary caught my interest, i did not have to much expectations, but this movie is a small masterpiece, visually appealing and the script is excellent. Haley Bennett perfectly fitted this role, it's imposible not to sympethise with her character.

I would say this is sort of a drama arthouse movie. So don't expect any horror or thriller vibe. Although still exciting, with many uncomfortables scenes, this movie is far away from boring. I should also mention the sound/music was fitting very well in this movie.
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Terrible movie
grivera-alf17 March 2020
Terrible movie. Don't watch it if you don't want to waste 1 and a half hours of your life.
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Visually beautiful
Gordon-119 March 2020
This film tells the impact of pica so well! The underlying reason for her pica is just very sad. This aside, the visuals are great, the leads are handsome and the house is just really beautiful. I enjoyed watching it.
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I kinda loved it
chelseatayla30 March 2020
THIS IS NOT A HORROR OR THRILLER, so I can see why people might be disappointed by the film if they were expecting that. It's more of a psychological drama if anything. As strange as the film was, I was never bored. I give major props to the lead actress as she made every scene gripping. You really come to understand her motivations and why she does what she does. I found the ending perfect, but I can see why it could polarize a lot of viewers. Overall, I adored the acting, story, and cinematography. A little strange but enchanting.
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Should come with a warning
hampersnow-2890518 March 2020
After I watch a movie like this I feel like it should come with a warning, more Hollywood liberal propaganda ahead, watch at your own discretion. Haley is a great actress and the performances are wonderful. The movie is well shot, but the film is filled with one dimensional characters and none of it rings true or based in reality especially for such a subject. Once again there are clear good guys and bad guys and life just is not like that. Throughout the movie I kept asking myself "Who acts like that ?" Certain characters do and say things that seem to happen only in movies. The movie calls on you to feel sorry for her and there is going to be a segment of viewers who are going to find her character completely unsympathetic. I am one of them. Unless you are in the mood to swallow (pun intended) more liberal nonsense, I would suggest avoiding this.
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I stopped watching it about half way through
mdcruz-272006 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
When it got to the theme of abortion for the sake of saving the main character from becoming mentally afflicted- that was a bit much for me. The assumption being that if she was aborted instead of being born by her "right wing religious mother" she would not have had to live through her mental illness.

I hope Hollywood someday stops this insanity.

It is a well acted & directed movie, to be fair. It's just that it's a screwed up premise- eugenics is not something I agree with. Especially based on the reason alluded to in this flick.
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The Psychological Weight of "Swallow"
TwistedContent7 March 2020
Writer and director Carlo Mirabella-Davis delivers her feature debut "Swallow", a character study, a film built on psychology of abuse, isolation, alienation, depression and obsession. In its center, Haley Bennett puts on a great performance as a newly-wed, newly pregnant housewife who's psyche is slowly crumbling and who can't find any stable ground or control over her life. "Swallow" is a rarely rich movie, but not with plot, characters or action.

"Swallow" is a carefully and patiently composed psychological study, clothed up in pastel-like colors and sure-handed, competent and clean-feeling cinematography. The viewer follows Hunter (Haley Bennett) as she struggles to find an emotional ground in her new life in which she has rushed in unprepared. Even though Hunter has it all - wealth, money, free time - "Swallow" makes a good point in saying that materialistic means do not guarantee happiness. Hunter's husband and his family are a controlling, untrustworthy and egoistical bunch, making her suffer even more. Trying to escape the painful routine, Hunter develop a compulsive, obsessive habit to swallow various small things, rocks, needles, marbles, even batteries. On the journey we also learn about the weight of past traumas on her shoulders - on the journey to the eventual resurrection of the mind and free will. Haley Bennett shines all throughout this journey, in a brave and intimate portrayal of a troubled woman. "Swallow" isn't a plot-based movie, but that should already be apparent... It also doesn't exactly fit in the horror genre & long story short, the way its marketed could be misleading to a lot of people who'll like it less for those reasons. There's a level of absurdity and surrealism, but well self-acknowledged and tailored together truly tightly, making "Swallow" feel like a borderless yet solidified piece of mood and contemplation cinema. An art-house with such a psychological weight that it makes up in substance where plot and some other usual, conventional elements do not.

Despite "Swallow" being a successful and impressive oddball future cult drama presenting (always) relevant issues in women and, truthfully, the entire society, it also has flaws, like a pacing that is consistent to a fault (never really picks up), lack of story and the fact that it won't satisfy the more mainstream audiences. Not that I care much, I recommend this to those who get intrigued by what can be described as "odd" or "weird" as much as myself. My rating: 7/10.
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Not Completely Horror
ellathomas-780953 April 2020
It was not awesome but quite good. Story has tugged in my heart string. I watched it with my family.
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