Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes include perseverance and regaining personal autonomy. Facing up to the past in order to take control of the future. A severe eating disorder is portrayed.
Positive Role Models
Central character, Hunter, is quiet, obedient -- like a stereotypical '50s housewife -- appearing powerless in her marriage to wealthy Richie. She takes steps toward feeling independent, but these are via a severe eating disorder. Richie and his father play traditionally male roles of providers and masters of the home -- talking over women, attempting to control their behavior with gifts.
Violence & Scariness
Dangerous objects are ingested, including thumb tacks and batteries, resulting in blood shown on the tongue, in the bathroom. A character is pregnant; scenes in hospital involving ultrasounds, as well as operations to remove objects from inside body. Rape is mentioned. Abortion is referenced, partly shown on-screen. A sheep is portrayed in distress, its throat slit. Passing mentions of postpartum depression, war.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex and oral sex are depicted on-screen, though no nudity is shown.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Strong language includes "c--t," "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," and "bulls--t," as well as "hell."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
A character lives in an expensive home -- purchased by their parents -- with their spouse. Money is directly associated with power and control. Gifts are offered to maintain the status quo.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol at a party and with meals. They are seen mildly intoxicated on one occasion. Prescription drugs are mentioned.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Swallow is a tense psychological drama in which a woman is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and it deals with a number of difficult themes including self-harm. Hunter Conrad (Haley Bennett) develops an eating disorder called pica, which causes her to consume nonfood objects -- such as sharp metal pins -- some of which are disturbing to witness both as they are swallowed and as they pass through her system. Traditional gender roles are very strongly reinforced, with the men in powerful positions -- including Hunter's husband, Richie (Austin Stowell) and father-in-law, Michael (David Rasche) -- and the women subservient. However, Hunter does try and challenge this dynamic. Strong language is used, including "c--t," "f--k," and "s--t," and alcohol is consumed on a number of occasions, with characters appearing mildly intoxicated. Sex and oral sex are depicted on-screen without nudity. Other adult themes addressed in the movie include mention of rape, war, and abortion, with the overall result likely to be confusing and disturbing for children. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Swallow boasts a superb central performance from Bennett as Hunter. Despite showing little reaction or emotion behind her doll-like facade, each twitch of the mouth or movement of the eyeballs suggests feelings trapped within, and a sense of inevitability bubbling just below the surface. Hunter's experiences at home and with her husband, Richie, and in-laws Katherine (Elizabeth Marvel) and Michael (David Rasche) are filmed with a detached dreamlike quality that makes her small acts of rebellion -- though both psychologically and viscerally disturbing -- strangely welcome punctures to the domestic bubble.
The plot does build to a climax as the walls start closing in on Hunter and she must find her own version of freedom. But the ending seems somewhat tacked on, and the revelations and attempt to tie them into the ongoing psychology feel a little forced. Though the film seems to almost back away from the impact it initially promised, it is an interesting study of patriarchal control and the effects upon those who suffer under its weight, even within an environment of apparent privilege.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.