Maria Full of Grace

Rated 3.0 Maria, a Colombian woman desperate to make money, agrees to become a mule, a transporter of drugs to the United States. Catalina Sandino Moreno gives a powerful performance at the center of this unnerving story about desperate measures for desperate times. Her airplane flight, with over 60 latex-coated drug pellets resting in her stomach, is a suspenseful sequence from director Joshua Marston, piloting his first feature film. None of the characters other than Maria are all that compelling, which drags the picture down a bit. But Moreno makes the movie worth watching and keeps the viewer intrigued about Maria’s plight. This is an actress of great range, who conveys significant tension through her expressive face. The film has a very realistic feel, which is appropriate because I’m sure there are people going through this sort of horror every day. The part of the story that plays out within the United States feels a bit tired, but Maria’s travails in Colombia are the stuff of good moviemaking.