Swallow is a 2019 psychological thriller film written and directed by Carlo Mirabella Davis, in his directorial debut. It stars Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, Elizabeth Marvel, David Rasche and Denis O’Hare. The story follows a young woman who is suffocated emotionally in her marriage and outside life, starts to consume inedible things on impulse.
Hunter Conrad (Bennet) lives like a 1950’s housewife, including her fashion sense, except she enjoys games on her cellphone. Her husband Richie has taken over his as CEO of his father’s corporation and is gone a lot, leaving Hunter bored at home a lot. She isn’t nearly as outgoing as Richie or his family. She eventually finds him to be inconsiderate and removed towards her. One day at home alone, she develops the urge to swallow a marble. She finds it gives her a feeling of euphoria and begins to swallow other non-food items around the house, including thumbtacks, metal figurines and even batteries. Each object, after digested, she obsessively cleans and arranges in a dish on her vanity.
When Hunter finds out she is is pregnant, she and Richie go to the hospital for an ultrasound, during which the technician finds an anomaly in Hunter’s stomach. She is transported immediately to the emergency room to remove many different things trapped in her intestine. She is diagnosed with pica, a psychological disorder that coaxes people to eat inedible items. She is forced to go to therapy where she reveals her unhappiness in her marriage and how she was born from her mother being raped and being too conservative to terminate the pregnancy.
This film is very slow at times, almost boring, but it does pick up and gets a lot better. You get to see how a person with a pica lives, how they struggle, hurt themselves and the ones who care about them. You also see how it is to live as the black sheep in the family and through a broken marriage that keeps getting worse. It is disturbing knowing that pica is s real condition and seeing a person (real or not) is hard to watch, but you can’t help watch Hunter swallow almost no food throughout the film.
Hunter’s husband Richie (Stowell) is veery little help for her, he mostly yells and tells her to get professional help or he’ll divorce her. Her doe however, mention the health of their baby and calls her selfish for not thinking of them or her own health. Richie’s parents are worried she might kill the baby and herself and she eventually checks into a mental institution.
Haley Bennett is outstanding as Hunter Conrad and definitely worthy of any best lead actress awards. Austin Stowell is great as Richie Conrad. Elizabeth Marvel does a fine job as Richie’s mother, Katherine Conrad. David Rasche does a fine job as well as his father Michael Conrad. Richie’s parents are a lot nicer and more helpful than him. They are there for Hunter when Richie is not.
This film is more disturbing and eye-opening than scary. Much of this movie is quite slow, but it is a story that should be told as not many people know about pica. It is an eating disorder like anorexia, where the person suffering craves eating things that shouldn’t be eaten. This film also deals with how psychological disorder affect people and their loved ones. It also deals with marital problems.
Despite the slowness, this film is well done and all the lead stars do great jobs in their roles. The only problems are that the movie could have been a bit less slow and gotten into Richie and Hunter’s marriage issues more as well as how her loved ones were affected, since it mostly focused on her and the pica. This film really only has a few somewhat romantic scenes and I get the feeling Richie didn’t really love Hunter after all,
Not exactly a thriller, but not exactly a complete drama either, it’s a bit of both. Not fantastic, but terrible either. 18 & up 3.5/5