Monday, January 14, 2008

Maria Full of Grace

WORTH-IT: (Joshua Marston) Maria is the story of a gentle hearted 17-year-old trying to make it on her own to escape a pitiful job and an unfair domesticity. After years of de-throning roses proved too much to handle, she quits, only to realize jobs run scarce in her small town in Colombia. After the job is lost, she finds herself buried in despair as she is pregnant, alone, and poor. She decides to take a job as a drug mule, as which she will earn millions in pesos simply for swallowing drugs and carrying them across the border. Pain, both physical and emotional ride Maria for the duration of the film. She knows better, but she can't find better. Catalina Moreno plays this confused young woman. The emotion she drains into the character is refreshing and powerful. The audience sees a woman in peril of her own decisions, empathizing that the way up is too dark to find. Overall, the movie is a little disjointed, as dialogue is slim and the storyline never reaching deeper into anyone except maria. We are never sure who really cares about her or who she really cares for. This was never distracting though, just prevented me from ever truly giving in to the heart of the film. What carries the film is the suspense of the drug transport. How many will she have to swallow, how long can she stand the pain building in her gut, and will she survive, unlike so many before her? Kudos to Moreno's performance and to the spectacular devotion to a story rarely told from such a point of view. Maria Full of Grace is worth it, but as the Oscar ballot proved, don't expect a winner.

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