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In a small village in Colombia, the pregnant seventeen years old Maria supports her family with her salary working in a floriculture. She is fired and with a total lack of perspective of finding a new job, she decides to accept the offer to work as a drug mule, flying to USA with sixty-two pellets of cocaine in her stomach. Once in New York, things do not happen as planned. Written by
Catalina Sandino Moreno did not practice swallowing pellets during rehearsals. Since the character of Maria did not know how to swallow them, Moreno and Joshua Marston agreed that it would be more realistic for her to try swallowing them for the first time on-camera. The pellets were made of easily digestible substances but neither Moreno nor Marston will reveal what exactly they were made of. See more »
After Maria gives Don Fernando the money for Lucy's family, she takes her wallet out twice. See more »
Poverty, desperation and bravery spiral into a mess and culminate in pregnant 17-year-old Maria sitting in a room, trying to swallow 60 plastic capsules full of narcotics to smuggle for money. When she later on needs to swallow two more, it is a scene so painful that it is almost unbearable to watch. Maria: Full of Grace (2004) is a clear-eyed and relevant portrayal of a young girl in Columbia being exploited by the drug industry - in spite of its dark material, it projects a lot of heart and spirit.
They say that reality is often more frightening than fiction - and this is true for this film; it is so realistic and down-to-earth that it becomes harrowing in almost every scene. Catalina Sandino Moreno is fantastic as the dignified, brave Maria whose high-spirited nature propels the otherwise dark film. She is a girl who speaks little, but says so much. She knows what she needs to do, and she does it like she means business.
The above is also true for Joshua Marston's Maria: Full of Grace (2004)
it does not preach about morals; there is no melodrama, politics,
sugar-coating romances or effects, but an understated yet brutal depiction of a young girl's journey in learning to cope and be responsible. Extremely well-crafted and important film that does not claim to be important, and that is endlessly refreshing.
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