Maria: Full of Grace
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is about an unfortunate chain of events that leads a 17-year old Colombian girl, Maria (Catalina Sandino Moreno), to smuggle drugs into the U.S. by swallowing them. The processes of preparing the drugs for swallowing, the actual swallowing, and the retrieval are shown in exhaustive detail. Though only one brief heavy kissing scene takes place, much of the plot revolves around Maria's pregnancy and the pressures it brings, which are discussed extensively. Language (English subtitles) is casual and conversational, but often heated and uncensored. While Maria is noble in many regards, her actions are dangerous, and they put her life in jeopardy.
What's the story?
Struggling to help her family survive, Maria Alvarez, a Colombian teen, works under tough conditions in a flower factory. Pushed too far by her supervisor, she quits her job, and very soon after, she meets Franklin, a young man who suggests that she act as a drug mule -- swallowing packets of heroin to smuggle them into the U.S. Although she makes it out safely, things quickly get out of her control, and she finds herself both in a foreign country and in a dangerous predicament.
Is it any good?
At times agonizing to watch due to its detailed execution, MARIA FULL OF GRACE is a powerful film, sure to affect almost any viewer. In Maria, actor Catalina Sandino Moreno creates a character with which most people will find it hard not to sympathize, and for such a relentlessly distressing story, her high level of charisma is crucial to keep viewers watching.
This is a gritty -- almost documentary-like -- look at what it's like to be a drug mule. It certainly doesn't glamorize drug culture (one mule is caught by police, another becomes deathly ill after swallowing her balloons, but Maria eventually emerges a stronger person). But the movie doesn't condemn Maria for making tough choices; in the end, she has emerged a stronger person.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the fact that smaller movies are often grittier than big-budget pictures. Why do you think that is? How would this movie have been different if Jennifer Lopez had played the lead? Would it have been as effective?