Thursday, January 13, 2005

Maria Full of Grace

It all began with a mid December issue of Entertainment Weekly, when I read the monthly column of one of my favorite guilty pleasures -- Stephen King. He wrote an article about his top ten favorite movies of the year.

As an avid movie fan, I keep up with all the movies that are released and I have a very good grasp of what movies are "hot" and why they are "hot" whether it is for special effects, a tremendous performance or even a great nude scene.

When I was reading Stephen King's countdown, I was familiar with all the movies that were on his list ... except one. The movie he listed as best movie of the year -- Maria Full of Grace.

After reading that, I was, of course, intrigued. I searched out more information on the movie and saw that it was a critical success across the board. This was later supported by the tons of Top Ten lists that came out. One movie seemed to join Sideways on all the lists of best movies of the year -- Maria Full of Grace. The Yahoo! Movies listing for Maria Full of Grace shows that it received a solid A from the critics (This is an average of all the reviews of the major critics.)

After some quick research, I discovered that it was on DVD, so I immediately added it to my Netflix queue and put it near the top. Two weeks later, my wife and I watched the film.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it was a foreign film and that it would be subtitled. I knew that the lead actress was nominated for a Golden Globe nomination and would most likely be nominated for an Academy Award. And, I knew I was ready for a fantastic flick.

The trouble I have when I sit down to watch a movie that has gotten all these accolades is that I am sometimes disappointed that the movie didn't live up to the hype. This time... I was not disappointed.

The plot is simple. "This is the harrowing story of a (not quite) typical mule: Maria Alvarez (Moreno), an intelligent and fiercely independent 17-year-old girl from Colombia who agrees to smuggle a half-kilo of heroin into the United States. " (Yahoo movies)

The movie shows the trip of the 17 year old girl to the United States and what happens to her once she arrives. It is a one hour and forty one minute movie and as soon as she steps on that plane, I couldn't take my eyes off the film. They had successfully created an empathetic character and even though she was breaking the law and causing damage to herself -- psychologically and physically, you rooted for her.

This movie is a triumph. It shows that you can make an incredible film and not spend big money. You can make people sit on the edge of your seat and not have killer robots to do so. You can intrigue people and make them cheer just by watching a young girl work out of her financial despair.

These makes me want to see another heart warming movie ... In America...


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