Maria Full of Grace

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 144


Audience Score

User Ratings: 39,710
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Movie Info

A bright, spirited 17-year old, Maria Alvarez, lives with three generations of her family in a cramped house in rural Colombia and works stripping thorns from flowers in a rose plantation. The offer of a lucrative job involving travel--in fact, becoming a drug "mule"--changes the course of her life. Far from the uneventful trip she is promised, Maria is transported into the risky and ruthless world of international drug trafficking. Her mission becomes one of determination and survival and she finally emerges with the grace that will carry her forward into a new life.

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Critic Reviews for Maria Full of Grace

All Critics (144) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (139) | Rotten (5)

  • The movie puts us in Maria's shoes, taking us step by suspenseful step through her physical and spiritual ordeal.

    Mar 13, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Sep 3, 2004 | Rating: 4/5
  • 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.

    Aug 26, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • 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.

    Aug 6, 2004 | Rating: B

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • One of the emblematic migration stories of our time.

    Aug 1, 2004

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • A stunner of a film.

    Jul 30, 2004 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Maria Full of Grace

  • Jan 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 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
    Matthew R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2009
    Such a good movie. It was pretty sad, but it told a good story.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 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.
    Juli R Super Reviewer

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