7.5/10
30,350
172 user 155 critic

Maria Full of Grace (2004)

R | | Crime, Drama | 6 August 2004 (USA)
A pregnant Colombian teenager becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 40 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
María Álvarez
Virgina Ariza ...
Juana
...
Rodrigo Sánchez Borhorquez ...
Supervisor (as Rodrigo Sanchez Borhorquez)
Charles Albert Patiño ...
Wilson Guerrero ...
Johanna Andrea Mora ...
Diana Álvarez
Fabricio Suarez ...
Pacho
Mateo Suarez ...
Pacho
Evangelina Morales ...
Juana Guarderas ...
Female Pharmacist
John Álex Toro ...
Franklin (as Jhon Alex Toro)
...
Javier (as Jaime Osorio Gomez)
...
Lucy Díaz
Victor Macias ...
Pellet Maker
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Storyline

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 Stephen Bowen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Basada en 1000 historias reales. (Based on 1,000 true stories) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

6 August 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maria Full of Grace  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$139,066 (USA) (16 July 2004)

Gross:

$6,517,198 (USA) (5 November 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Maria and Blanca return the pellets and money to the dealers in the parking lot was the last scene shot during principal photography. Filming was very difficult, because the actors playing the dealers had not rehearsed the scene in over a month and were having trouble getting into character. Threatened by the producers to abandon the scene, Director Joshua Marston eventually achieved what he needed by encouraging the actors to improvise, particularly with their blocking. During the The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) ceremony, the scene was played during the reading of Catalina Sandino Moreno's Best Actress nomination. See more »

Goofs

After Maria gives Don Fernando the money for Lucy's family, she takes her wallet out twice. See more »

Quotes

María Álvarez: I think I'm pregnant
Juan: You want to get married?
María Álvarez: Do you love me?
Juan: [annoyed] Don't start on that.
María Álvarez: [mad] You're going to marry someone you don't love?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Unbeatable (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

La Piragua
Written by Jos? Barros
Performed by Gabriel Romero y Su Orquesta
Courtesy of Discos Fuentes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
From a life that's hard to swallow, to drugs that are hard to swallow.
14 December 2004 | by (Pacifica, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

I really liked this movie a lot. It's refreshing to come across a compelling human drama that is told in such an incredibly honest and unexaggerated fashion that it ends up feeling wonderfully real and completely believable. The rather straightforward story only makes the movie feel more convincing - not at all contrived.

Maria Alvarez, played by previous unknown Catalina Sandino Moreno, is a seventeen year old who falls into the sticky-sweet trap of seeking a quick escape from the drudgery and hopelessness of her mundane existence. She turns to drugs. Not using them, though - smuggling them. Working as a drug mule offers her the chance at easy money. But, like most young people, she dives into it headlong - without fully realizing the risks and possible consequences. In fact, this movie really is all about young people stumbling over their own poor judgements (yes, it can be painful to watch at times).

Given all the hype that surrounded this movie when it was released, I found it to be not quite as harrowing as I had expected. Perhaps I'm just too jaded and desensitized. In truth, there were moments where I felt genuinely afraid for Maria. Mostly, though, there was just a real sense of the despair and desperation that fills the lives of these young Colombians. Perhaps this movie will, after all, not be the centerpiece of the Colombia Tourism Board's upcoming marketing and public relations campaign.

In the spirit of keeping it genuine (aka believable), all the acting in this movie is right on the mark - all the actors deliver. Of course, Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria) is so graced with natural beauty and she projects such a gentle and humble manner that one can't really help but feel empathy for her character. In fact, if there is anything to find fault with in the casting of her as Maria, it's that you're left wondering why her boyfriend would be such a God-damned idiot as to pass her up. If he had even an ant's worth of common sense, he would be madly in love with her. Not? So, that's the one element that doesn't gel so well.

The moody and melancholic music throughout this film - with plenty of beautiful acoustic guitar playing - supports the emotional content of the movie perfectly. Thankfully, it doesn't overtly bang you on the head with "feel sad here", and "feel scared here", and "feel relieved here". It sinks back a bit to find its harmony with the other elements. Nice.

The cinematography is beautiful in its simplicity and its understated manner. The word "modest" - in its best sense - serves well in describing this movie. Overall, it's just not as heavily stylized as other the-perils-of-getting-involved-with-drugs type movies - such as "Requiem For a Dream", "Traffic", "Blow", and "City of God", to name but a few - and with little of the annoying moralizing that tends to poison movies of this "genre".

In conclusion, most of us have already learned in life that one shouldn't be an ass. What this movie teaches us is that it's also not a good idea to be a mule.


49 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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