María Álvarez, an independent, feisty, and underpaid seventeen-year-old Colombian rose packager is stuck in a tedious life and a dead-end relationship with her good-for-nothing boyfriend, Juan. And as if things weren't bad enough, an unexpected pregnancy and an ugly altercation with her unfair boss will tempt María to accept the risky offer to become a drug mule, smuggling drugs from Bogotá to New York City. But, as things rapidly spiral out of control, suddenly, the option of an early retirement and a peaceful future for both María and her unborn baby begins to fade away. Is there a way out from this hopeless predicament?Written by
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 »
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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