Maria Full of Grace by Joshua Marston |Catalina Sandino Moreno, Yenny Paola Vega, Guilied Lopez | 26359192722 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Maria Full of Grace

Maria Full of Grace

5.0 4
Director: Joshua Marston

Cast: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Yenny Paola Vega, Guilied Lopez

New York-based writer/director Joshua Marston makes his feature film debut with the coming-of-age drama Maria Full of Grace, with a script developed at the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab. Catalina Sandino Moreno plays Maria Alvarez, a teenager living in Bogotá, Colombia. Along with most of the other able-bodied people in her community, she works a perilous job in


New York-based writer/director Joshua Marston makes his feature film debut with the coming-of-age drama Maria Full of Grace, with a script developed at the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab. Catalina Sandino Moreno plays Maria Alvarez, a teenager living in Bogotá, Colombia. Along with most of the other able-bodied people in her community, she works a perilous job in a flower plantation. She wants to quit, but her large family depends on her meager salary. One day, Maria meets a smooth-talking young man named Franklin. He offers her a business proposition to make some money and travel. However, the task involves her acting as a drug mule and smuggling heroin into the U.S. Maria Full of Grace premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 as part of the dramatic competition.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The film festival favorite Maria Full of Grace briefly played the art house circuit, but it figures to find its largest audience among discriminating DVD viewers. First-time director Joshua Marston doesn’t have an A-list personality playing his eponymous protagonist, but he doesn’t need one: Newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno is bright-eyed, beautiful, and charismatic in the role of a teenage Colombian who takes desperate chances to better both her own life and that of her unborn child. In her native land, Maria has a dead-end job and a loser boyfriend who accepts no responsibility for getting her pregnant. She agrees to become a “mule” for drug runners, swallowing dozens of tiny bags filled with cocaine just prior to flying to New York City, where members of the drug ring will shelter her until she expels the contraband. Airport customs investigators, we learn, generally suspect Colombians of smuggling drugs, but Maria is exempt from the usual X-ray investigation by virtue of her pregnancy. There is nothing especially unique or innovative about Maria’s narrative trajectory; indeed, most viewers will anticipate the plot developments before they occur. But Marston portrays the seedy milieu with near-documentary fidelity -- he neither overstates nor romanticizes the poverty that drives Maria to run the risk of spending her life in prison. Moreover, he presents the drug trade as a routine business operation, albeit one with occasionally deadly consequences. Supporting player Orlando Tobon even elicits a dollop of sympathy as an avuncular pusher who takes the mules under his wing when they arrive in New York. Yenny Vega is convincing as Maria’s loyal but dull-witted friend Blanca, although her real function is to make Moreno’s character look brighter. As for Moreno, her future couldn’t look better, as her performance here is among 2004’s very best.
All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Joshua Marston's dramatically potent Maria Full of Grace could easily have been a preachy issue film, but the filmmaker's eye and ear for authentic detail and believable characterization, the exquisite lead performance of Catalina Sandina Moreno (in her film debut), and the typically crisp, immediate handheld camerawork of genius cinematographer Jim Denault (Boys Don't Cry) make the film an unusually tough and gritty slice of underworld life. The horrific situation in which Maria finds herself stems organically from her steely temperament and her desperate, unfulfilled circumstances. Moreno's assured performance conveys both Maria's tough willfulness and her underlying uncertainty. Marston's film is at its strongest in focusing on the small, fascinating details of Maria's life, as she gives up demeaning sweatshop labor at a rose plantation to enter the drug trade. The scenes of heroin being processed and ingested for transport by Maria in her newfound occupation are darkly fascinating, as are the excruciatingly tense scenes that follow on the airplane, and at the airport after Maria arrives in New York. Some elements of the coming-of-age story are familiar, but Marston's attention to detail and the film's effective naturalistic presentation make it all very fresh and gripping.
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum
Unfolds with a simplicity that's as breathtaking as its inevitability is harrowing.
New York Times
Sustains a documentary authenticity that is as astonishing as it is offhand. Even when you're on the edge of your seat, it never sacrifices a calm, clear-sighted humanity for the sake of melodrama or cheap moralizing. Steven Holden
Washington Post - Desson Thomson
A story that rips fleshy holes through your heart.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Hbo Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; The original theatrical and international trailers; Audio commentary with writer/director Joshua Marston

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Catalina Sandino Moreno Maria Alvarez
Yenny Paola Vega Blanca
Guilied Lopez Lucy
John Alex Toro Franklin
Patricia Rae Carla
Wilson Guerrero Juan
Jaime Osorio Gomez Javier
Johanna Andrea Mora Diana
Orlando Tobon Don Fernando
Fernando Velasquez Pablo
Virgina Ariza Juana
Rodrigo Sanchez Borhorquez Supervisor
Charles Albert Patino Felipe
Evangelina Morales Rosita
Fabricio Suarez Pacho
Mateo Suarez Pacho
Juana Guarderas Female Pharmacist
Victor Macias Pellet Maker
Hugo Ferro Pharmacist
Ana Maria Acosta Stewardess
Ada Vergara De Solano Carolina
Maria Consuelo Perez Constanza
Eddie Trucco Customs Inspector
Selenis Leyva Customs Inspector
Juan Porras Hincapie Wilson
Oscar Bejarano Carlos
Singkhan Bandit Gas Attendant
Patrick Rameau Taxi Driver
Monique Curnen Receptionist
Lourdes Martin Doctor
Osvaldo Plasencia Enrique

Technical Credits
Joshua Marston Director,Screenwriter
Sarah Beers Costumes/Costume Designer
Yann Blanc Art Director
Debbie De Villa Production Designer
Jim Denault Cinematographer
Lynn Fainchtein Musical Direction/Supervision
Carrie Fix Asst. Director
Jaime Osorio Gomez Co-producer
Rodrigo Guerrero Associate Producer
Leonardo Heiblum Score Composer
Jacobo Lieberman Score Composer
Ellyn Long Marshall Casting
Monica Marulanda Production Designer
Anne McCabe Editor
Paul S. Mezey Producer
Marie E. Nelson Casting
Lee Percy Editor
Lauren Press Costumes/Costume Designer
El Barco Producciones Casting
Maria Eugenia Salazar Casting
Orlando Tobon Associate Producer
Jorge Valencia Casting
Alex Wolfe Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Maria and Blanca [6:01]
2. Looking for Something More [8:25]
3. With Child [8:58]
4. A New Mule [5:49]
5. Nervous Determination [5:56]
6. Preparing [3:53]
7. 62 Pellets [6:46]
8. Stay Calm [6:58]
9. The Interrogation [4:40]
10. Wake Up [2:07]
11. Only for a Few Days [8:01]
12. Faith in Fernando [8:10]
13. Lucy Is Found [7:05]
14. Mourning the Loss [6:41]
15. Full of Grace [5:09]
16. End Credits [2:19]


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