8:00 PM, 18th August, 2005
17 year old Maria works on a flower plantation in the provinces of Colombia. She has an unsatisfactory relationship with her boyfriend and is resentful about how dependent her family is on her wages. After a run-in with her manager at work she quits her job and heads to Bogota to find work. She ends up preparing to do her first drug run as a 'mule', learning the tricks of the trade from her new friend Lucy (Guilied Lopez) before boarding their flight to New York, their stomachs filled with "capsules of death".
Maria Full of Grace is an extraordinary experience for many reasons, including, oddly, its willingness to be ordinary. We see everyday life here, plausible motives, convincing decisions, and characters who live at ground level. There is no hysteria. It's just a relentless tense journey that you can believe reflects reality, despite it not being a true story. The suspense is heightened by being generated entirely at the speed of life, by emerging out of what we feel probably would really happen.
This is the debut feature of Joshua Marston and it's an extraordinary accomplishment.
Catalina Sandino Moreno also received a somewhat surprise Oscar nomination for her role as Maria, her first film role ever.