This weekend settle for a poignant story about poverty and desperation. The Spanish film, Maria Full of Grace stars Catalina Sandino Moreno as Maria, a 17-year-old Colombian girl who quits her grueling job de-thorning roses after a run-in with an insensitive boss.
For Maria’s family this is a harsh economic blow because everyone living in that small house, her mother, her grandmother and her unmarried sister, relies heavily on Maria’s wages to survive. As if that’s not bad enough already, Maria discovers she’s pregnant, but refuses to marry the baby’s father, her idle no-good boyfriend. Now in desperate need of money, Maria agrees to act as a drug mule between Colombia and New York carrying 63 pellets of cocaine inside her. It’s not only a criminal offence, but also a health hazard that can put her life at risk.
From the very start, this film sucks you in because it’s such a poignant story and because Moreno in the lead plays the part with such earnestness that it arouses your sympathy from the word go.
Apart from the touching, heart-breaking story that it obviously is, Maria Full of Grace also has an excellent documentary-like feel to it, especially the portions in which you’re shown how cocaine is transported by human mules. We see how these pellets are manufactured, how these human mules practice suppressing the gag reflex so they can swallow these pellets, and what happens if they accidentally expel one before it is meant to be released.
A deeply affecting film that must be watched.