Thursday, January 27, 2005

Maria Full of Grace 

The Girl and I watched this on DVD, the first of our Oscar-nominated DVDs that are lined up on our Netflix queue. Newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno has been nominated for Best Actress for her starring role as Maria, a 17-year-old Columbian who has been thrust into the role of primary supporter of her mother, sister and sister's toddler. Having quit her job as a thorn remover at a rose plantation, she is given an opportunity to be a mule - to smuggle drugs into the United States by swallowing large numbers of drug filled plastic "pellets."

We see Maria trying to deal with her lot in life while at the same time struggling to improve it, and balancing her loyalties to her own future and those of the people around her. Some of the early scenes of the plantation workers being bussed to work reminded me of Casa de los Babys, which took place in Mexico.

Moreno is very good in the role, and I'm glad the Academy once again went out of the mainstream for this nomination, but there's no way she'll win. I equate it to last year's nomination of young Keisha Castle-Hughes for her starring role in Whale Rider: a great recognition of the early work of a young actor, which hopefully will help open doors to many more opportunities, but she didn't stand a chance against Charlize Theron. Look for Castle-Hughes in the upcoming Revenge of the Sith.

Reality Check: The Girl in general studiously avoids subtitled films (Maria Full of Grace is in Spanish), but she didn't mind the subtitles in this one, and enjoyed the movie.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1/27/2005 02:45:00 PM