Fantasia 2019: Swallow [Review]


The Fantasia International Film Festival is recognized for screening some unique and risky films to their dedicated and passionate moviegoers. Most of the programming consists of genre flicks that are highly recommended to be seen with a large audience. You can feel the emotional weight of a movie when you’re watching it on the big screen with people around you. Swallow will most certainly leave you speechless when it ends. Written and directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis, his first-ever feature is one of the most uncomfortable yet emotionally powerful films that will make its message resonate to its audience. After its Canadian premiere at the festival, hopefully a lot more people will be interested in seeing this.


Swallow focuses on Hunter (Haley Bennett), a housewife married to a wealthy man named Richie (Austin Stowell). She eventually finds out that she is pregnant, but struggles to maintain true happiness and fulfillment with her new life. That’s not all: She also suffers from a disorder called pica, which means that she swallows items that are not meant to be eaten and contain no nutritional value. As the story goes on, she starts to evolve as a person, and that’s pretty much the gist of the movie. 

Bennett is outstanding as the lead actress of the film, and her performance adds a lot of emotional depth to the premise. When you’re being introduced to her character, you really feel for her. It’s quite sad to see her as someone who seems to have no sense of purpose within herself. The rest of the cast is also fantastic, because all the actors add something important to Hunter’s story. Even if some of them have small roles in the movie, they still manage to stand out. Mirabella-Davis’ script makes sure that all these characters are well-developed with the help of great dialogue and pacing. 

The film is undeniably not an easy watch as some scenes can be very disturbing to sit through, but it’s still mesmerizing to look at. The emotional depth makes the premise a lot more compelling for you to connect with. The cinematography is beautiful, and the camera movements majestically capture Hunter’s growth from start to finish. It’s fascinating how the director is able to perfectly focus on the main character’s flaws in a way that will make the audience deeply invested on both an emotional and personal level. By adding some complexity to the film, it allows the dramatic aspect to stay strong throughout. 


To sum it up, this is a magnificent drama about someone just wanting to feel fulfilled and happy with her life. With a terrific script, amazing cinematography, fantastic direction, and outstanding performances, Carlo Mirabella-Davis showcases his brilliant talent as both a writer and director. Swallow is easily one of the best films shown at Fantasia this summer, but it’s also one of the best movies of the year. It’s a great example that shows why cinema can be a form of art.  

Swallow screened as part of this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival.

About Steven Lee

Ever since he was a kid, Steven has always been passionate about movies. As a fan of Marvel, Star Wars and other geeky franchises, he will always bring you fun and nerdy articles that might pique your interest! More Posts