Maria Full of Grace
|Maria Full of Grace|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joshua Marston|
|Produced by||Paul S. Mezey|
|Written by||Joshua Marston|
Catalina Sandino Moreno|
Yenny Paola Vega
John Álex Toro
|Distributed by||Fine Line Features|
|Box office||$12.6 million|
Maria Full of Grace (Spanish title: María, llena eres de gracia, lit., "Maria, you are full of grace") is a 2004 drama film written and directed by Joshua Marston. The film was produced between Colombia and the United States. Lead actress Catalina Sandino Moreno was named Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in the 77th Academy Awards.
Seventeen-year-old Colombian girl Maria Álvarez works in sweat shop-like conditions at a flower plantation. Her income helps support her family, including an unemployed sister who is a single mother, but after unjust treatment from her boss, she quits her job de-thorning roses, despite her family's vehement disapproval. Shortly thereafter, Maria discovers she is pregnant by her boyfriend, and he suggests marriage, but she declines because she does not feel she loves him, or that he loves her. On her way to Bogotá to find a new job, she is offered a position as a drug mule. Desperate, she accepts the risky offer, and swallows 62 wrapped pellets of drugs, and flies to New York City with her friend Blanca, who has also been recruited as a drug mule, and Lucy, who has made the dangerous journey before.
Maria is almost caught by U.S. customs who are suspicious after finding Maria's $800 in cash and wanting to make a surprise visit to a sister she "hasn't seen in years", but not knowing anywhere else to go if she isn't home. She tells them that the father of her child paid for her plane ticket. She avoids being X-rayed due to her pregnancy, and is released. The traffickers collect Maria, Blanca, and Lucy, another more experienced mule that Maria had befriended during her recruitment. The mules are held in a motel room until they pass all the drug pellets. Lucy falls ill when a drug pellet apparently ruptures inside her. Unknown to the traffickers, Maria witnesses them carrying Lucy out of the hotel room, and she sees blood stains in the bathtub. She comes to the conclusion that the traffickers cut her open to retrieve the other drug pellets inside her body. Scared, Maria convinces Blanca to escape with her while the traffickers are gone. They leave with the drugs they have passed.
Maria has nowhere to sleep, and goes to Lucy's sister's house, but doesn't reveal to the sister that Lucy is dead. Blanca soon joins her there. Eventually the sister unexpectedly hears of their involvement in her sister's death and throws them out. Blanca and Maria make an agreement to return the drugs to the traffickers and receive their money. Maria uses some of her drug money to send Lucy's body home to Colombia for a proper burial. Maria and Blanca are ready to board the plane back to Colombia when Maria decides to stay in the United States. Blanca returns home without Maria.
- Catalina Sandino Moreno as Maria Álvarez
- John Álex Toro as Franklin
- Johanna Andrea Mora as Diana Álvarez
- Virginia Ariza as Juana
- Yenny Paola Vega as Blanca
- Guilied Lopez as Lucy Díaz
- Patricia Rae as Carla
- Rodrigo Sánchez Borhorquez as the supervisor
- Charles Albert Patiño as Felipe
- Wilson Guerrero as Juan
- Fabricio Suarez, Mateo Suarez as Pacho
- Evangelina Morales as Rosita
- Juana Guarderas as a pharmacist
- Jaime Osorio Gómez as Javier
- Victor Macias as Pellet maker
Maria Full of Grace was first shown on January 18 at the Sundance Film Festival in the United States. On February 11, 2004, it was shown at the Berlin Film Festival; launch in Colombia occurred only on the 2nd of April of the same year. The film had a limited release on July 16, 2004, before going wide in the United States on August 6, 2004.
The film was critically acclaimed. It garnered a 96% approval rating on the aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 141 reviews, and an average rating of 8/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 87 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". According to Desson Thomson from The Washington Post, "Catalina Sandino Moreno is a Colombian Mona Lisa, a delicate, unforgettable force majeure. Add to her luminous demeanor a story that rips fleshy holes through your heart and you've got yourself a stunner of a film".
Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, praising Moreno's performance, the screenplay, and Maston's direction, saying: "Remember the name Catalina Sandino Moreno. The heartfelt and harrowing performance she gives here should put her in line for a heap of year-end awards."
Its total worldwide gross stands at $12,594,630 ($6,529,624 at the American box office, and $6,065,006 from other territories).
- hMaria Full of Grace at Box Office Mojo
- "Maria Full of Grace (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- "Maria Full of Grace Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- Thompson, Desson (July 30, 2004). "'Maria' Full of Grace Indeed". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- Travers, Peter (July 14, 2004). "Maria Full of Grace". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 13, 2018.