Catalina Sandino Moreno, Yenny Paola Vega, Virgina Ariza, Johanna Andrea Mora, Wilson Guerrero, John Álex Toro and Guilied Lopez

Joshua Marston

Running Time:
101 mins

"Could you come with me"

Her boyfriend has nothing going for him, she is just quit her job and she is pregnant, for María Álvarez (Moreno) life just couldn't get any harder. When she meets Franklin (Toro) he offers her a way to make a lot of money but there is a big element of risk involved. The job is for her to become a drug mule, swallowing pellets and flying to New York from her home in Columbia. These pellets contain heroin, each weighs 10 grams, each is 4.2 cm long and 1.4 cm wide and the man Franklin has introduced her to wants her to swallow more than sixty.

There have been many films about the trafficking of drugs from Columbia to the US but you have always seen the stories through the eyes of the drug barons or the police officers trying to catch them but this movie is very different.

'Maria Full of Grace' tells the story of the young girls used as mules to carry drugs into the US. Writer/director Joshua Marston skilfully shows you the world of the average Colombian teenage girl who because of circumstance and need, falls into the trap of using her body to transport drugs to New York. What makes this film so different however is the fact that it isn't at all preachy and never takes a moral or political high ground but just tells the story from the point of view of Maria.

These girls are just as much victims as the people the dealers are supplying the drugs to. With small monetary rewards for doing the jobs, they risk everything. Not only is there is the threat of getting caught by US customs but the biggest danger is to their own lives, as every pellet they swallow carries the risk of bursting, killing them from a heroin overdose. Director Marston shows you exactly what the girls go through and the dangers of doing what they do.

In an absolutely stunning debut, Catalina Sandino Moreno is quite simply amazing as María Álvarez. Once in a while a performance by a first time actress comes along and makes you stand up and take notice of her, this is one of those performances. She plays María so naturally, making the character totally believable as we follow her story. Catalina Sandino Moreno is definitely an actress to look out for and this is a performance that deserved all of the plaudits, nominations and awards she received for it. The support is also good but this movie is all about the performance of the lead character and Catalina Sandino Moreno is definitely the star.

'Maria Full of Grace' is a fascinating insight into another side of drug smuggling. Through the eyes of a drug mule, we see that it is not just the junkie's who are the victims of the drug lords but also those who are desperate for money and are will to risk their lives to earn it. With nothing else in their village, this film explains why they do it and the repercussions of taking on such a risk, making the movie a captivating watch.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the movie is presented well.


Director's Commentary
Writer/director Joshua Marston provides an informative and interesting track for 'Maria Full of Grace'. Revealing the film's five-year journey to the screen, Marston talks extensively about the influences and ideas behind the movie. He also reveals the arduous casting process the production had to go through to find Maria and the rest of the young Columbian characters. This is a good commentary track that compliments the film extremely well.

Theatrical Trailer (2.11 mins)
Watch the original trailer used to promote the movie

Previews of 'On a clear day' and 'Rock School'


While this DVD release may not have the slue of extras that accompany many movies, the commentary track alone is still a real bonus. Foreign language movie tend not to have the most extras but the inclusion of the track makes this a good release for fans of this superb movie.


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