Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Writer: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Starring: Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, Elizabeth Marvel, David Rasche, and Denis O’Hare
Plot: An underappreciated housewife starts swallowing random objects as an act of rebellion against her controlling family.
Review: Honestly, this review is going to be kind of short on purpose. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say about this movie. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. I really, really enjoyed Swallow. However, I also went in completely blind. I didn’t watch the trailers. I didn’t read any reviews. Actually, I didn’t even really know what genre this movie fell under. I just knew it was about a wife who swallows things. That’s it. And, that’s exactly how I’d like everyone else to experience it. Just trust me. It’s actually really good. That having been said, I will try my best to tiptoe around everything to give more specifics.
Ok. First thing’s first, the plot in this movie is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Obviously, we’re already in a weird place at the beginning. A pregnant woman swallowing random everyday objects like marbles, tacks, and batteries? Yeah. It’s a little strange. But, they do such a good job of making her sympathetic that you can’t help but want her to do whatever makes her happy. Her family are such huge assholes. They’re the type that smile and say that they love you, but constantly make backhanded compliments and treat you like you’re crazy. And, through the process of treating her like she’s insane, they, of course, seek treatment. Things tend to come up in therapy sessions… and that’s where I’m going to stop. Let’s just say that the plot unfolds in all kinds of crazy ways from there. Like I said, I’ve never really seen a movie like this. It’s pretty insane.
I’ve got to give major props to the director too. Everywhere I look, this movie is listed as a thriller. But, honestly, if you were just to read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia, that genre tag would probably confuse you quite a bit. Storywise, this is definitely a family drama. There really isn’t all that much going on. However, Mirabella-Davis directs it with so much intensity that you’re constantly on the edge of your seat. It feels more like Strangers on a Train or Gone Girl than Little Women. Plus, he’s got a really unique visual style. The cinematography is beautiful. I was super impressed, especially when I learned this was his first movie. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for what he does next.
And, of course, I can’t review Swallow without mentioning the incredible lead performance by Haley Bennett. She really captures the soul of this character in a fascinating way. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen depression portrayed so realistically. She constantly looks like she’s about to break out into tears, even when she’s pretending to be happy. That felt real. The only time she honestly looked 100% happy was when she was partaking in her dangerous addiction. This definitely made her a sympathetic character. Like, you definitely knew that what she was doing was unhealthy but you couldn’t blame her since it was the only thing that made her happy. If the year ends up being as slow movie-wise as I think it’s going to be, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bennett managed to grab an Oscar nomination. It’s definitely one of my five favorite performances of the year so far.
As you can tell, I really enjoyed Swallow. It’s unlike any movie I’ve ever seen. I wish I could dive deeper. I would love to have a conversation about certain later scenes, but this isn’t really the place for it. I’m just here to steer you towards the good movies and away from the bad. Swallow is definitely a good one. I’d check it out. And, when you do, hit me up. I’d love to talk about it some more.
TL;DR: Swallow is unlike any movie I’ve seen with a crazy plot, great direction, and a killer lead performance.
Score: 8/10 (Great)