Mezey, P. S. (Producer), & Marston, J. (Director). (2004). Maria Full of Grace [Motion Picture]. Cast: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Yenny Paola Vega, Guilied Lopez, Patricia Rae, Orlando Tobon, John Álex Toro, Wilson Guerrero, & Jaime Osorio Gómez.
This is a story that brings tears to your eyes and rips wholes in your heart. Maria Alvarez, 17, is convinced this life shouldn't be hers. Maria is a tough, independent, and intelligent young lady. She is on this journey of self-discovery desperate to escape her life of poverty. She works in a flower plantation in Colombia, stripping the thorns from roses. It's tough work, and she doesn't take orders well. No matter how hard she works, the money never seems to be enough for her family. She quits her job which causes a harsh economic blow to her family. In an uninspiring relationship with her boyfriend, she longs for something more. Maria finds out she’s pregnant and refuses to marry her baby’s father. Maria would rather raise a child alone than enter into a loveless marriage.
In a desperate need of money Maria looks for other opportunities of employment. An opportunity soon arises, but the stakes are very high. Maria is given what she thinks is the chance of a life time. She is introduced to Colombia's highly profitable and extremely dangerous drug trade. She's offered a job traveling to America as a mule. She must ingest a large amount of plastic-wrapped tubes of heroin. She is then to board a plane to America and hope that she can make it through immigration and pass the drugs off in America. Maria see’s this as her only alternative to an unfulfilling life of poverty. Once in New York, Maria is forced to decide between what she knows in life and all that she hope for out of life.
It is impossible to sit through the movie and not be affected by the circumstances of Maria’s life. The film has an emotional impact and dark in nature, but ends hopeful. Maris was a 17 year old girl that had to support her family,, survived a Customs interrogation, and had the strength and endurance to offer her baby a better life. The final scene leaves you feeling hopeful. Maria decides to stay in New York, even though her future is uncertain she displays hope and confidence.
“Maria Full of Grace” shows the closeness of the Colombian immigrant community in New York. It was a very powerful, eye-opening film. The film educates us about the problems associated with drug trafficking, a situation few are familiar with. It also shows what some women go through to escape the life of poverty.
Use for “Maria Full of Grace” with PYD: - Provides youth opportunities to reflect on themselves and their lives via characters in the film.- Youth can learn how to recognize leaders in film.- Allows youth to see how other youth deal youth culture identity