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Maria Full of Grace (2004, Spanish title: María llena eres de gracia, lit. "Maria, you are full of grace") is a joint Colombian-American film, written and directed by Joshua Marston, who won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Although the movie depicts rural life in Colombia, it was actually filmed in Ecuador. The title is a double-entendre alluded to on the poster—a simultaneous reference to the Hail Mary and to what Maria carries in her into the United States.

Lead actress Catalina Sandino Moreno was named Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in the 77th Academy Awards. She is one of three Hispanic actresses to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, together with Mexican actress Salma Hayek for Frida (2002) and Spanish actress Penelope Cruz for Volver (2006).


María Álvarez, a 17-year-old Colombianmarker girl (played by Catalina Sandino Moreno), works in sweat shop-like conditions at a flower plantation to help support her family. However, after finding herself pregnant by a boyfriend whom she does not love, forced to bring in the money for her unemployed sister (a single mother) and being unjustly treated by her boss, she quits and decides to find another job, despite her family's vehement disapproval. On her way to Bogotámarker to find a new job, she is offered a position as a mule — one who smuggles drugs by swallowing drug-filled pellets. Desperate, she accepts the risky offer, swallows 62 wrapped pellets of heroin and flies to New York Citymarker. After a close call at the US Customs (she was about to be X-rayed, until customs found out she was pregnant), she is set free and sent to a hotel where she is to remove the pellets from her body. The traffickers arrive to take the drugs. To retrieve the pellets from Lucy, a fellow mule who died when one of them ruptured inside of her, the traffickers cut open her stomach, then disposed of her body. After seeing this ruthless world firsthand, Maria decides to escape the drug-trafficking cartel.


Actor Role
Catalina Sandino Moreno María Álvarez
Virginia Ariza Juana
Yenny Paola Vega Blanca
Patricia Rae Carla
Rodrigo Sánchez Borhorquez Supervisor
Charles Albert Patiño Felipe
Wilson Guerrero Juan
Johanna Andrea Mora Diana Álvarez
Fabricio Suarez, Mateo Suarez Pacho
Evangelina Morales Rosita
Juana Guarderas Female Pharmacist
John Álex Toro Franklin
Jaime Osorio Gómez (also co-producer) Javier
Guilied Lopez Lucy Díaz
Victor Macias Pellet Maker


The film was critically acclaimed amongst critics garnering a 97% approval rating on the aggregator site "Rotten Tomatoes". It's total worldwide gross stands at $12,594,630 ($6,529,624 at the American box office and $6,065,006 from other territories).

References in popular culture

  • Rap act Clipse reference the film in their track "Keys Open Doors", which talks about the drug trade - "I yell "re-up" til I'm locked like Mumia/And get it cross state with the grace of Maria".

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