written and dir. by Carlo Mirabella-Davis

With “Swallow,” director Carlo Mirabella-Davis draws us into the domestic horror of a housewife. Against a backdrop of pink hues, Hunter, a soft-spoken new bride, finds her inner life spiraling. Born into a troubled home, Hunter has married into a picture-perfect wealthy family. Her acceptance, however, quickly becomes conditional on her obedience, as she spends long days in her husband's isolated modernist home, overlooking an endless forest.  As Hunter, Haley Bennett evokes a softer Betty Draper and, from the opening, her sweet apple-cheeked demeanor is never marked with expected signals of hysteria or unraveling. A testament to her intensity, she presents on the surface a frozen lake, while allowing just enough insight into her inner turmoil. In his first feature-fiction, Mirabella-Davis showcases his potential by marrying disturbing images with an engaged, thoughtful political message. Without spelling things out or softening its final blow, “Swallow” ranks among the best films about the fight for female bodily autonomy in the contemporary era.

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