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Maria Full of Grace (2003)



Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 139
Fresh: 135 | Rotten: 4

In a striking debut, Moreno carries the movie and puts a human face on the drug trade.


Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 1

In a striking debut, Moreno carries the movie and puts a human face on the drug trade.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 39,188

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Movie Info

New York-based writer/director Joshua Marston makes his feature film debut with the coming-of-age drama Maria Full of Grace, with a script developed at the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab. Catalina Sandino Moreno plays Maria Alvarez, a teenager living in Bogotá, Colombia. Along with most of the other able-bodied people in her community, she works a perilous job in a flower plantation. She wants to quit, but her large family depends on her meager salary. One day, Maria meets a smooth-talking young


Art House & International, Drama

Joshua Marston

Dec 7, 2004


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All Critics (151) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (135) | Rotten (4) | DVD (16)

Marston's compact, personal film doesn't judge his Maria, it merely observes her, explains her and humanizes a dark corner of a dirty business.

September 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The fact that [Moreno's] Maria is so believable, so compelling, rests entirely on what she brings to the part, not what the part brings to her. Her face is the kind that can carry a movie on the strength of sheer screen presence.

August 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of those films that finds strength in its directness, that passes up the fireworks and cheap tricks and just goes straight for the starkness of a powerful situation.

August 6, 2004
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the emblematic migration stories of our time.

August 1, 2004
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stunner of a film.

July 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unflinching drama of the journey of a drug mule.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The subject could be, and has been, exploitative in other films, but Joshua Marston shrewdly sketches asides of drama about whether Maria should simply remain in New York. To his credit, that outcome feels as fraught with peril as her drug-running.

September 19, 2010 Full Review Source:

"Maria Full Of Grace" was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and carries the cinematic currency of an important and thought provoking drama.

July 11, 2010 Full Review Source:

'Maria Full of Grace' offers a clear picture of the economics that drive the hopeless many to take risks in the enrichment of the few.

April 28, 2010 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Moreno gives a very memorable debut performance...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

the filmmaker's eye and ear for authentic detail and believable characterization...make the film an unusually tough and gritty slice of underworld life.

September 8, 2005 Full Review Source: All Movie Guide
All Movie Guide

Belongs to Moreno.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Maria Full of Grace provides an authentic and compelling view of a drug mule's experience.

April 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Moreno é uma daquelas atrizes que prendem o olhar do espectador, que, fascinado, mal percebe o sutil trabalho de construção de personagem que está sendo desenvolvido.

April 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Moreno communicates without words - she immediately sells the film, the concept, the struggle, the danger.

March 31, 2005 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

Catalina Sandino Moreno gives a superb, naturalistic performance as Maria and Marston is careful not to glamorise her, despite the fact that she's absurdly gorgeous.

March 24, 2005 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Su principal fortaleza es la convicción con que Sandino Moreno lleva el peso de toda la película (...)

February 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Marston never romanticizes, never goes for the easy cliche. He allows his hooks to pull at the film's center without revealing the lines that make his movie so gripping.

February 16, 2005
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

The story is told in a lean, clean way, with no missteps.

January 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

it never quite goes where you expect it to, yet you're glued to the events all the way.

January 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

"Based on 1,000 True Stories" is the most pompous tag line of the year by far, especially from an American director claiming to speak for all the people of Chile.

January 4, 2005 Full Review Source: New Times | Comments (3)
New Times

Marston has made an amazingly lean debut feature.... But everything he trimmed wasn't fat.

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source:

It's a testament to the filmmakers' creative maturity that [the film] navigates its narrative without once capitulating to obvious emotional readings.

December 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmjourney

In a time when many politicians seem eager to define morality as either black or white, 'Maria Full of Grace' dares everyone to look at the ocean of gray in between.

November 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

A strikingly personal story with realistic characters and a strong emotional core.

November 8, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Audience Reviews for Maria Full of Grace

This was quite a story to see portrayed on film. Not to be missed.
February 2, 2014

Super Reviewer

An original take on the drug trade, dealing with a seventeen year old girl (Catalina Sandino Moreno) who, pressured to find a job, agrees to become a drug mule, since the pay is good and it sounds like she will be taken care of. You don't know what to expect really after she agrees to take the job, and neither does she. An overall incredible film with a powerful performance from Moreno (she got nominated for Best Actress). Although it loses a little steam in it's last half, this is a mostly excellent movie that feels authentic all the way through.
May 7, 2010
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

An impressive film which shows a realistic story based around drug muelling. Great performances all around, but particularly from Catalina Sandino Moreno who played the lead character.

A Drama which really pulls you in and see the circumstances from different viewpoints.

Definitely a recommendation ? an instant favourite for me.
August 28, 2009

Super Reviewer

A beautiful Colombian teenager discovers that 'easy money' isn't always so easy when she gets lured into the harsh, dangerous world of drug trafficking.

In order for a so-called 'message film' to work there has to be at least one character that an audience can really care about, Maria Full of Grace has an abundance of them. A talented cast and no-nonsense scripting elevate this somewhat predictable storyline to something meaningful and moving. Four Stars.
June 25, 2009
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Maria Full of Grace

    1. Maria Alvarez: Here's my share.
    – Submitted by Gabriel G (18 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Latest News on Maria Full of Grace

July 20, 2007:
Catalina Sandina Morena Joins Soderbergh's Che Films
Did you know that Steven Soderbergh was making a movie about Che Guevara? Starring Benicio Del Toro...
February 3, 2006:
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December 16, 2005:
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Movie City News shares with us a press release from the London Film Critics Group in which their...

Foreign Titles

  • Maria voll der Gnade (DE)
  • Marie pleine de grâce (FR)
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