Swallow: The Movie That Had Me Saying 'What the Actual...?'

While the Halloween vibes were still in the air, I treated myself to a strange, scary movie spree on different streaming services. Among the chilling titles, "Swallow" (2019), directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis, caught my attention and left a lasting impression.

The Plot

The story follows Hunter Conrad (Haley Bennett), a woman from a lower-working-class family, who has recently married Richie Conrad (Austin Stowell), a man from a wealthy family. Despite living in a lavish upstate New York home, Hunter feels isolated and emotionally stifled in her marriage. 

One day, while she was home alone, she developed an impulse to swallow a marble, finding it exhilarating. This leads her to consume other inedible objects around the house. 

Bennett’s acting is sooo good tho. But as a highly judgmental person (and perhaps with a bit of internalized patriarchy in my subconscious as well) this film is def a challenge. It truly is 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

It's veeeery easy for me to blame Hunter for what she did in the movie, even though the doctor said it was the Pica Disorder thing that caused all her madness 🙄

Pica is an eating disorder in which a person eats things that are not usually considered food. In the movie, those inedible objects that 'fascinate' Hunter include a needle pin, a rock, a marble, and a battery. Imagine that.

Is it for real?

Never heard any of that Pica thing before? Yep, me too. But it’s real. I googled it and found out that the term "pica" originates from the Latin word for magpie, a bird known for eating almost anything. (Well, that explains Hunter’s unusual cravings for non-food items like pins and soil). Although pica is more commonly experienced by children, it can also occur in pregnant women.

So I can def feel the frustration (and anger) that Richie went through, finding out that his wife put small, inedible, dangerous stuff into her stomach, with their baby in it too! *I don't think that 'my body my authority' applies to that one too though*

And do you know what challenges me more? It was when during the therapy she said that it's just so not a big deal and that everyone is making a big deal about it.

O sweet baby Jeez, of course it is a big deal. She was pregnant and she just swallowed all of those tiny sharp objects because she couldn't resist it. 

"Well, (swallowing) a battery seems like a big deal. If it leaked inside your stomach, the acid could've killed you. That concerns me," said the therapist, responding to what she said earlier.

My final take

Anyway, as the story progressed and her condition worsens, she faces challenges in her marriage and personal life, ultimately leading her on a journey of self-discovery. While the first half of the movie felt like a difficult task for me to empathize with the main character, by the end of the movie I could definitely understand the pre-existing conditions that brought out her darkest aspects. 

The storytelling itself is, indeed, convincing. And the acting, as I mentioned earlier, is awesome. I would highly recommend watching this movie not only for its cinematography experience but also for its unsettling, emotional, and weird vibe, characteristic of a psychological thriller.

“Swallow” is streaming on Mubi. One thing that I enjoy the most on Mubi is that this online streaming service allows me to explore a diverse range of films from different genres, countries, and time periods.

If you're into arthouse cinema or festival films, you should definitely check that out. You'll be surprised by how addictive it can be and how it leaves you feeling afterward. 



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