Ny Times.Com Book Review The Only Woman In The Room Movie Review – Maria Full of Grace

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Movie Review – Maria Full of Grace

Filmed mostly in Colombia, Maria Full of Grace is a dramatic film about the illegal drug industry taking place between Colombia and the United States. The film was released in 2004 and is about 90 minutes long. Maria Full of Grace effectively shows the differences in lifestyle between the US and South American countries with a much smaller GDP (Gross Domestic Products). Viewers will see the extremes people will go through to get drugs through customs and make extremely large amounts of money.

At the beginning of the film, we feel what Maria’s daily life is like in Colombia. She works in a flower shop, removing thorns from roses. Her boss walks the isles of his workers all day asking for more production and asking if his workers are meeting their quotas. Maria returns home every day to a small house with about three rooms that she shares with her mother, two siblings, and the baby’s niece. She also has a boyfriend named Juan who does not have a very promising future and has a happy attitude. Juan and Maria often walk in the city and stop to kiss or climb on the roofs to get some privacy.

The director depicts an active nightlife in the Colombian city where Maria lives. She and Juan often go out drinking and dancing at various parties or clubs with Maria’s younger sister, Blanca. Juan usually drinks too much and doesn’t pay attention to Maria, leaving her to find guys for her friends and Maria to be hit on by other young men at parties. She seems like a young woman with morals and is smarter than most of her friends which leads the viewer to think that she and Juan will not make it together. This is especially evident when a young and hip man named Franklin approaches her and catches her attention unlike most other men. Franklin and Maria end up breaking up but meet again.

Maria and Juan are obviously very attracted to each other, and while Maria is talking to Juan in private one afternoon, she tells him that she is pregnant with his child. Juan reacts to this news in a very immature way, first by getting angry, then by asking Maria to marry him. He feels it is his responsibility and the right thing to do right now. She does not say yes to him because she feels that he is not being genuine and she does not really want to get married. She leaves and returns to her job, where a bad situation becomes much worse. Her boss is constantly looking over her shoulder causing her to become irritated and quit her job. She returns home to argue with her mother and siblings who accuse her of being selfish as the family is in dire need of money.

A frustrated Maria leaves the house to think about a new job and passes Franklin on his motorcycle. She gets on the motorbike with him and they ride into town together to drink and talk to one of his friends. It is clear at this point that Franklin is trying to sweep Maria off her feet and that she is really enjoying his relaxing company. The two end up going to a dive bar where a Mafia looking man is standing in the corner. Franklin approaches him and gets the man to agree to talk to Maria for a moment. The dirty looking man is heavily involved in the cocaine trade and offers Maria a job. She lies about her age, says she’s eighteen when she’s really only seventeen, and says she’d happily work for him. The man gives her several hundred dollars to prove his word and tells Maria to meet him at the local doctor’s office in a few days. Maria is more relaxed at this point and returns home to give some of the money to her needy family.

Maria Full of Grace really gets interesting when Maria arrives at the doctor’s office a few days later. She is led up a secret passage where the doctor and the drug lord are waiting for her. The doctor asks her to swallow a lubricating fluid and a pill that slows down her digestion process. The drug lord, whose name is Javier, asks her to swallow a total of sixty-two pellets covered in synthetic rubber and filled with cocaine. She struggles as she swallows all the pellets, but manages to get them all into her stomach and on a plane to New York. Once in New York, she fully digests the pellets and washes them before passing them on to the drug distributors.

On the plane to New York, she sees two other drug mules she knows, a woman named Lucy and her little sister, Blanca. Blanca is only sixteen years old, but she knows that if she can get through this trip she has the chance to make more than five thousand dollars. In a country like Colombia where people don’t have the opportunity to make a lot of money, five thousand dollars can change a life. While Maria and Blanca have severe stomachaches during the flight, Lucy becomes seriously ill. The plane lands in New York where the girls know they need to digest the pellets quickly, especially for Lucy who is in danger of dying because one of the pellets has opened in her stomach.

However, Maria looks suspicious when going through customs at the airport in New York. The police and customs agents pull her into an examination room to begin questioning her in Spanish. She denies having any form of drugs in her body, but cannot produce a credible story to the agents. Maria is forced to give a urine sample to rule out drugs in her system where the agents discover she is pregnant. The agents really want to do a CT scan on her stomach to look for capsules or pellets that hold the drug, but they quickly rule that out due to her pregnancy. Fortunately, Maria is released from the customs office and meets Lucy and Blanca.

The three young women meet again in a hotel room where the drug distributors are staying. The men watch the three young women and wait patiently for them to digest the drug pellets and clean them. Maria and Blanca quickly produce the pellets, but Lucy is still in serious danger. It turns out that an open pellet leaked into her stomach where she received a lethal dose of cocaine. While in the bathroom, she passes out and dies under the flow of shower water. The young people send Lucy and Blanca out of the room for a short time, and when they return to the room they are terrified. Lucy is gone, but there is blood all over the bathroom and a sense of death in the room.

At this point, Maria and Blanca grab their cocaine pellets and run out of the hotel. They find Lucy’s sister in a random apartment building and manage to stay there for several weeks. Lucy’s sister puts the two young women in touch with a local man who has a way of finding jobs for young Latina women without much prospect of finding a job. He finds out that the two women are drug mules and are keeping large amounts of cocaine in their purses, and he also informs them that Lucy was actually cleaned and killed in the hotel so that the young people could recover the drugs from her.

Maria and Blanca are scared and know that if they don’t do the right thing, that they too will be killed. Therefore, they contact the drug distributors and hand over the cocaine pellets. After accounting for all the pellets, the young men do the right thing and pay both girls the full amount of money owed to each. Maria feels guilty for taking advantage of Lucy’s sister and grateful for being allowed to stay in the woman’s apartment, so she gives the majority of her money to Lucy’s sister. This money is intended to repay her debt to the woman, and more importantly, to pay for Lucy’s funeral.

Now that Maria and Blanca have money to return home to Colombia with and have safely resolved the situation with their cocaine pellets, they want to return to the airport and leave New York. This time they pass through customs safely and are about to board the plane when the two young women have an argument. Blanca is still immature and doesn’t realize that she can do better in life than being a drug mule. Maria came to her senses after talking to Lucy’s sister and realizes that the life of a drug mule or life back in Colombia really isn’t life at all. Now she knows that there are more opportunities for her in the United States and especially in New York. While Blanca gets on the plane and waits for Maria to get on, Maria turns around without saying a word and promises to never leave the United States. This is a very dramatic point in the film where Maria shows that she has learned her lessons in life and now wants to have a better life for herself and her baby on the way.

Maria Full of Grace provides a chilling account of what life is like in Colombia, especially for a drug mule. It is also clear from watching this film that there is an extremely large amount of money involved in the illegal drug industry. Research shows that a large amount of drug mules are seized at US customs and borders, but drug lords still manage to make billions of dollars each year. The mark up on their product is so great that they can afford to lose almost half of their product when drug mules are caught every day in the United States. Maria Full of Grace is not just a story of a poor family seeking better opportunities by being drug mules; it is an accurate account of the extremes they will go through to make money in poor areas. While many people make huge amounts of money producing and trafficking drugs in countries like Colombia, it is still illegal and extremely punishable in the United States. The risks are great and include imprisonment for life, or death. Due to the simple plot and drama involved in the film, Maria Full of Grace is rated 3.5 out of 5.

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