Maria Full of Grace - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Maria Full of Grace Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 15, 2007
This was quite a story to see portrayed on film. Not to be missed.
Super Reviewer
November 17, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
September 4, 2006
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.
Super Reviewer
January 8, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2007
Really really good movie. For some reason I didn't realize it was in Spanish but I love Spanish movies. It was very real and sucked me in.
Super Reviewer
½ May 30, 2007
very powerful and gripping story. and good wordplay with the hail mary prayer thing.
Super Reviewer
January 29, 2007
Well-performed and fairly strong for such a low budget film, but rather thin. Not much actually happens. Better films can make such a minimal concept work - Maria Full of Grace falters here and there.

This is probably because I feel no sympathy for Maria. She makes a slew of poor decisions throughout the movie, only managing to dig the hole deeper, and it seems almost unfair that she got out of her rut with no personal retribution whatsoever. Though it wouldn't be true to say that she didn't learn anything, the movie feels a little more forgiving than the subject matter (and back of the DVD box) would lead you to believe.

Still a good film, but not really great.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2006
I completely confused with the plot that they made..
Super Reviewer
May 14, 2006
A hard story to take. My guess is that in real life, these women who actually do this are less fortunate. Grace: this is what Sandino Moreno's character is living by.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2010
Imagine facing a choice that could release you from the struggles of being poor. Would you take that risk if it meant ruining your life or the lives of family and friends around you? There are many people who are faced with that problem every day. The fact that people are willing to subject themselves to smuggle drugs in their own bodies for money really indicates the state of desperation in poor countries. This film gives us insight into the life of a 17 year-old girl, about the choices she's faced with. I think watching this film might give you a sympathetic understanding of the impoverished and a greater appreciation, it did for me. Catalino Sandino Moreno gives an outstanding performance. Maria Full of Grace is a serious but engaging film that shows the endless world struggle of the poor who want and try to get out of their desperate and imprisoning lives.

Story: A
Acting: A
Direction: A
Visuals: A
Overall: A

**** out of 4 stars
Super Reviewer
February 22, 2005
The world was raising. Thunderous canyons shot from below to meet my footsteps. Forests rose and died behind my back. Birds evolved and turned to dust before me. The sky was fire and shadow, and it covered the sun like a closing fist. My hair was a wild brown spirit dancing in the tempest. My consciousness tore apart into a thousand different pieces, each shot itself like a rocketship to a thousand stars. The moon crashed into the earth. Humanity begged to be. Civilization threw its hands up. Existence screamed.

My body is an auditorium. Memory is music fading, acoustics wearing.

Starlight is taxed. Clouds rule the universe. The bridges I walk end before they begin. All the islands and planets are sinking. An air just above me is a melancholy fragrance, and yellowness stains reality. The madness of my flesh is annihilated. I am just a tangle of wires choking a soul, stranded in a breath and under the dead mountains. The edge is deep. I let go, and fall back into a flock of glimmering crystal angels. I dream that they are building me beautiful white wings.
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2012
Heartbreaking when one thinks that this story is surely carried out on a weekly if not a daily basis. The drug mule carries the holy treasure within their own bodies with fear of being consumed by those drugs or facing legal penalties in the unexpecting importing country. A great tale.
Super Reviewer
August 16, 2006
The pacing of this film is seamless, brilliantly executed by writer-director Joshua Marston. It has an appealing visual sensibility and a consistent tone of immediacy, which heightens the desperation of the protagonist. Catalina Sandino Moreno is superb playing the lead, chewing the scenery despite a solid supporting cast.
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2008
Evil, realistic. Dramatic. But oh so true.
Super Reviewer
½ September 19, 2009
Such a good movie. It was pretty sad, but it told a good story.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2009
This is a gritty movie that should make you question America's drug policies, when you see their effects on the most powerless, the mules.
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2009
I had bigger expectations on this one. The story is pretty thin, unfocused and uninteresting. The characters makes many dumb decisions which gets radical consequences, and therefore it's hard to get engaged and sympathize. It's hard to determine if this is how drug dealing works, but it feels realistic and Catalina Sandino Moreno makes a great impression as the drug mule. Because of it's inability to engage I wouldn't recommend this.
Super Reviewer
October 7, 2007
Most gripping foreign film I have seen in EONS!

Amazing debut performance from Catalina Sandino Moreno.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2008
'Maria Full of Grace' is a film far from the one I expected, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Despite its drama/thriller labelling it is completely ordinary in the exposure of some remarkable, and rather shocking events. By avoiding the cliches and conventions of a genre the impact is far stronger. By making the characters, and even the initial setup part of normality, empathising is all the more easier, and dramatic.

In an Oscar nominated performance, Catalina Sandino Moreno plays Maria Alvarez, a stubborn but spirited seventeen year old living in rural Colombia with her mother, grandmother and sister, who has just given birth. She brings in money by stripping the thorns off roses, but it is tiresome and monotonous work. When Maria falls pregnant and her boss is unsympathetic, she quits. But her family rely on her for money.

By pure luck, she meets a man who offers her work as a 'mule', transporting drugs to America by swallowing them. One of the film's most impressive attributes is the astonishing attention to detail in revealing this process. The audience watch intently as Maria must learn to swallow over 50 pellets of cocaine, and we learn the dire conseqeunces of a lost capsule - or in worst case scenario, a ruptured one.

The direction is of the understated style rather than flashy or elaborate. It is simple, unobtrusive, but effective in hitting home the tension of a whole different world that Maria, unfortunately, chooses to live. She is a victim, but willingly entered into her contract, and the shady outlines of good and evil in the screenplay enhance the film's realistic approach.

Moreno's performance is definitely the heart of the picture. Maria is a teenage as stubborn as any other, but the fear in her realisation of a horrifying underground world is expertly conveyed. She is bound to break under the pressure. The cast are uniformly good, but Moreno is a standout.

If the film has faults, they are limited to some narrative tangents that don't make for a cohesive picture. While the process of transporting the drugs is meticulously unveiled Maria is a bit too quick in finding her feet and rebelling against her boss, and her pregnancy is given less focus than it deserves - it could have made for a pivotal emotional persuasion for Maria.

None of those are major flaws, I'm merely commenting that 'Maria' isn't a perfect film. It is still a marvellously well acted and sensitively shot tale of the risks people expose themselves to in hard times. The characters are realistic, and the balance of powers fair. 'Maria Full of Grace' is affecting and powerful in its portrayal of a woman who makes mistakes, but desperately wants to do good.
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