Thursday, March 26, 2015

Maria Full of Grace Review

I hear about it flipping through news networks on cable constantly. The drug trade. The war on drugs. The cartel. All of these things are just words to me, at most a sub plot to a dramatic television series as I do not experience anything related to them during my daily routine. It has been over a decade since I have even seen a substance deemed illegal, the hazy days of high school long in the rear view mirror, so what might be a devastating reality for some feels like mere news filler and political talking points to me. It isn't that I don't care, it's a fact of human nature that a person is far less likely to invest emotionally into a world they never physically see.

Over the course of roughly 100 minutes, Catalina Sandino Moreno made me care. In what was her debut acting performance in the lead role as Maria, she successfully brought a sympathetic human face to the concept of using a person under desperate financial circumstances as a drug mule, and it is effectively heartbreaking in the film Maria Full of Grace. With each capsule she must ingest I could feel a strange sensation in my own throat, as the discomfort in her eyes felt so genuine and unsettling.

Writer/Director Joshua Marston delivers an unflinching, believable picture here, but what shined the brightest throughout for me were the performances with Moreno up front and center, the powerful and real face of the film. I may flip through the news channels without a single word resonating, but Maria made me care.


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