Maria Full of Grace

3 March 2017

Joshua Marston was extraordinary in his movie debut as director in the film Maria Full of Grace. It was very impressive because nothing seemed to deter him from displaying many serious and important issues going on all over the world. This particular film dealt with many political, immigration, anti-feminist and cultural issues and that is just to name a few. What really interested me the most about this film is that it is a movie about survival and the various struggles people must confront.

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His realistic portrayal of the drug trade, which includes humans as mules as a way of trafficking drugs to the United States, and his obvious insinuation of how much more needs to be done with the so called “war on drugs” was amazing. The title of Maria Full of Grace may be somewhat contradictory as the film develops after time. Catalina Sandino Moreno, who plays the protagonist role named Maria may be considered graceful at first but after she is put in difficult circumstances was she really considered full of grace? Instead, the title of the film should have been Maria Full of Disgrace.

Moreno’s role was that of a woman who smuggles heroin pellets, which she swallows and later on releases them from her body system, in order to gain a profit. This to me is not really considered graceful but disgraceful. Maria had to deal with many responsibilities since early on, and now she had to deal with overwhelming family problems, labor problems, as well personal problems, such as her pregnancy. When Maria was given the opportunity to make some fast money, what she thought to be a large quantity when in fact it was not, she was put in dangerous risks that jeopardize her life.

During the course of the film, Marston incorporated anti-feminist stances. Male chauvinism or “machismo” is a term used to describe the belief that men are superior to women. The term “machismo” dates back since the early decades in the twentieth century. The director applied “machismo” in the film when Maria’s new boss hires only young women to do all the filthy work in the United States. In the film women are portrayed as vulnerable human beings. In past history but also currently, women have been seen as weak individuals with no voice.

In the film, when Maria is in search of a new job she is approached by Franklin, who she met during a party in her hometown. Franklin was the one who introduced her to the job that she would take on later on in the film. Franklin made the job of being a mule, swallowing thumb size pellets filled of heroin and then smuggling them into the United States, not a major concern when indeed it puts herself in danger. Maria was hesitant in taking up the task and risking being caught but Franklin convinces her.

Maria then is considered a vulnerable target. The film took place in Colombia and the Unites States. While still in Colombia, there was a scene where Maria attended a party and during the party she was vividly trying to dance cumbia with any partner she can find since her boyfriend was being a careless drunk. By choosing cumbia, which originated in Colombia, the director represented traditional backgrounds and roots that are currently present in Latin America. The director’s wise choice of music indeed enhanced the overall message of the film.

While in the United States, which is considered a melting pot consisted of many races, backgrounds, and traditions, Maria had to enter a new and unknown country where she had to face many barriers. Political and immigration issues were tied in together in the film. The Colombian government has a corrupt system and the film illustrates how easy it is to smuggle drugs into the United States. When Maria arrived in New York, she was immediately pulled aside by US Customs, who threatened to X-ray her stomach to examine if she was bringing over any drugs.

Luckily, they realize that she is pregnant and cannot follow through with the X-rays. After the close call by the authorities, Maria was then released into a country where she has never step foot on. Implementation of airport security may be strict but seems like they only target those who come from third world countries. Also, scared vulnerable women are being targeted such as Maria. Overall, Joshua Marston’s first film was a great movie success.

His way of conveying realistic matters and expressing them throughout a film grasps the audience’s attention and draws them in on the reality occurring around us. Political, system is corrupt, airport security, easy to smuggle For his first time movie success, Joshua Marston’s film engages his audiences on the focus of drug trafficking and the war on drugs. Marston’s uses a realistic portrayal of the drug trade and the humans’ involvement. The way Joshua Marston applies the situation is effective in the sense that it makes the audience believe that this occurs on a daily basis.

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