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Swallow- a review

"Rose said that every man has their vice as Tolani…"

By 'Vive AkughaPublished 3 months ago 5 min read
Image Credit: Screenshot by me

Eniola "Niyola" Akinbo, Ijeoma Grace Agu, Deyemi Okanlawon, Chioma Akpota, and Kelvin Ikeduba are part of the cast of Netflix's Swallow.

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Follows loan worker Tolani and her roommate, Rose as they navigate life in Lagos. Rose accepts bravely to never face poverty again so she tells the man she's seeing, OC that she can do what he does. There are several topics explored in this movie including relationship expectations, fragile job states, financial security, drugs, sexual harassment and the effects on women, and more.

Tolani and Rose work at the same place. Rose worked close to their boss, Salako until she was fired after her non-compliance with his sexual harassment. He chose Tolani to take that position for selfish reasons. He takes Tolani's walking as an invitation or act of coyness to carry on. She does not slap him as Rose did (she tries to break free from him)but she also does not say anything as the office gossips about her. It weighs on her mind and she remembers her mother's words of you knowing your own qualities.

The HR/clerk (Ignatius) is hesitant to file her claim against Salako. She asked for time off (vacation) and talked about his unfair treatment as she said to him that if he had a daughter he would not like it. He answers by saying that his daughter "will never comport herself the way you do around here. And if she does, ah, she will face the music herself." This absurd statement refers to his judgement of her thinking she was walking seductively to entice him. People like this think everyone wants them and everything is a sign of it. They become angry when it's not true.

After she said that he assaulted her, he suspended her for two weeks and claimed insubordination. The continuation of his abuse of power is not shocking but continually disgusting. The older woman, Margaret is surprised by Tolani'e reluctance to ignore this. She feels that even if the boss is difficult why make all this fuss? She questioned, "What is wrong with you young women of today?" This shows the trail of compliance which may not be due to acceptance or ignorance but is of desperate survival. She also makes it known that Tolani's report (claim) was not given to her. She said that there was a lot of work and she would surely review it. However, this is an unnecessary statement because there is doubt about the true effort to help Tolani. Previously, Rose had said that since she works under Salako, she would not do anything to help. Truly a disgusting man and a horrifying experience.

Image Credit: Screenshot by me

Eventually, fed up, she curses Salako and his children. She gathered some feathers and other things to curse him with the power stemming from the gods of her father. She said she would take her leave in the next week and he would not fire her. Yessss! I was so happy for her, hahaha. Tolani is in a relationship with Sanwo. She struggles with the fact that she and Sanwo have been together for three years but not at certain points she expects. They spoke about marriage a year ago and he said it would happen soon but they're not where they want to be financially yet (not necessarily stable).

She questions OC's intentions to marry Rose after three weeks. Rose made her expectations known to Tolani as she said that if after six months, the man was not talking about marriage she would be talking to someone else. Rose looks down on her relationship with Sanwo. Sanwo talks to Tolani about an opportunity but he expresses the lack of funds he needs for it. She gives him out of her savings to speed up his business. She hopes it will become profitable and stable which would allow them to get married. However, Sanwo was duped(lost the money) and could not pay her back. She broke up with him and continued to persevere.

They wonder about the essence of drugs. Rose said that every man has their vice as Tolani expressed her fears about considering and accepting to work with her. At this point, they have no job or savings and their slimy boss definitely wouldn't give them a reference letter to help them, so they resort to trying drug trafficking. Tolani tries swallowing the test product she was given but it's not working. She had said that if she couldn't, she'd go back home (to Makoku) to join her mother's business of making and selling Adire.

We learn that although her dad was an Ifa worshipper, her mother was a Christian. Godwin invited her to his Church and she accepted. Tolani leaves after a while of attending and Godwin follows her to make sure she's okay. She said that the pastor is brainwashing the congregation because he's rich but they're still giving him money as they sit there listening to his nonsense. She also says, "Ah! It's already good enough that you're a Christian, but why must you…I saw you there! Pretending to speak in tongues. Why? As if it's not bad enough, he's still condemning everybody else's faith and saying one way is the only way. Why? Look, me, I'm going home." Stunned, Godwin responds by saying "Bitch!" (which shocked me). She realizes that people at the top will always take advantage of people like her and Rose, so she tells Rose she cannot do it.

Image Credit: Screenshot from AfricaOnNetflix on YouTube

She tells her that she's concerned about her and they will find another way but this isn't worth it because they see her as replaceable. Rose is not willing to stray from her plan. At work, she apologizes to Godwin. They make up and he says "Anyway, Jesus still loves you." Rose has to transport some drugs to the United Kingdom. However, she and Tolani make up before she leaves. Rose says that her life and experiences have made her act irrationally but she's sorry for their last discussion. She weighs the possible punishments of transporting to different locations and she says that England's punishment won't be so bad. Rose dies on the plane from a burst bag and OC comes to warn Tolani. He said that she should disappear before daybreak. Tolani cries because she warned Rose and is sad that the worst happened. She crafts a plan to leave swiftly.

Mama Chidi talks to Tolani about the drug issue getting serious because a lot of people want to be rich immediately. She said that they are not patient enough to wait for God to bless them. We are taken back to the beginning of the movie when she arrives at her family home in Makoku. Sanwo visits her. He asks how she's doing and shares the good news of his new job at a consulting firm. He also gives her back the amount she loaned him when he needed it (I'm happy he did). I love that this part was in the movie. They get back together. He returns to Lagos after they spend some time together and the movie ends. Deyemi stays booked and busy hahaha. It was a good watch.

Originally written in my "Brief and not-so-Brief opinions: Part 4" article.

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About the Creator

'Vive Akugha

I write on various things: social issues, well-being, cinema and out of curiosity. More!

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    'Vive AkughaWritten by 'Vive Akugha

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