An Albanian family is torn apart by a murder, resulting in a blood feud that makes eldest son Nik a prime target and forces his sister, eldest daughter Rudina, to leave school in order to take over the family business.
Adriana is a 13-year-old girl from Mexico City whose kidnapping by sex traffickers sets in motion a desperate mission by her 17-year-old brother, Jorge, to save her. Trapped and terrified ... See full summary »
Medellín, 1989. Antonio brings Rosario to the hospital; she's shot, bleeding badly. Flashbacks, mixed with Antonio's wait at the hospital during her surgery, tell the story: Antonio and ... See full summary »
13-year-old Monica leads a street life, making her living by selling flowers to couples in local nightspots, she is joined by 10-year-old Andrea who runs out of her house after her mother ... See full summary »
Rob has watched his father abuse his mother forever and can't understand why she puts up with it. When feelings of jealousy bring him face to face with his own violent tendencies toward ... See full summary »
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 became the first actress ever to be nominated to Best Actress at the Oscars for a role that it is spoken entirely in Spanish. See more »
After Maria gives Don Fernando the money for Lucy's family, she takes her wallet out twice. See more »
Well then... We're going to give you several rolls of film. We'll send you to New York... Actually to New Jersey - a small town next to New York. Once you go through Customs you'll be met by our people. They will take you to a safe place. We'll develop the rolls. And in five, six days you'll be back here with all your money taking care of your problems.
See more »
A riveting human odyssey that transcends simplistic messages
In Joshua Marston's small budget film Maria Full of Grace, a headstrong Colombian girl of seventeen (Catalina Sandino Moreno), determined to escape from a country where the average annual income is about $1700 US, seizes an opportunity to earn $5000 by ingesting and transporting illegal drugs to New York at considerable risk to herself and her unborn child. Inspired by a woman in his Brooklyn neighborhood who told him her story of swallowing capsules of heroin and boarding a plane for the United States, first-time director Marston has escaped the clichés of social realist films to offer a riveting human odyssey that transcends simplistic messages of good and evil. Shot in documentary style with a hand-held camera in Ecuador and New York, the film's authenticity is greatly enhanced by its use of Colombian actors speaking in their native Spanish language.
Maria Alvarez along with her best friend Blanca (Yenny Paola Vega), works at a job stripping thorns from roses in a village near Bogota, Colombia. Despite low wages and deplorable working conditions, her pay provides support for her grandmother, mother, sister, and infant nephew to sustain their meager household. After she has words with her boss, she quits her job and soon discovers she is pregnant by a local boy Juan (Wilson Guerrero) whom she does not love and refuses to marry. Feeling trapped, she quickly accepts when Franklin (Jhon Alex Toro), a friend she recently met at a dance, offers her a huge sum of money to smuggle drugs into the U.S. The trick is that she must swallow up to 100 heroin pellets sealed with latex and dental floss, knowing that certain death follows if one of them bursts.
The lovely Ms. Moreno, in an Oscar-worthy debut performance, is no cardboard character but a fully developed human being who epitomizes the desperation of people who are willing to do almost anything to better their life. The tension is almost unbearable as we follow Maria's odyssey into danger. She soon meets drug kingpin Javier (Jaime Osorio Gomez), who explains the operation, and in secret, talks with Lucy (Guilied Lopez), who shares her experience in carrying drugs to America and allows her to practice by swallowing large grapes.
After barely escaping the probing of U.S. Customs Officers in New York, things begin to go wrong and Maria and Blanca must rely on their tremendous resolve to survive in a confusing and lonely environment. Winner of the Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance and two major awards at the Berlin Film Festival, Maria Full of Grace is not only a hard-hitting jab at a global economic system that allows exploitation of the poor to satisfy the pleasure of the rich, but a richly nuanced coming-of-age story that delivers its hard-edged message with understanding and compassion. One of the best films of the year.
93 of 121 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?