Most of the films I watch tend to have a lot of action in them, ranging from loud teenage parties to one-on-one fist/sword/gun fights. Maria Full of Grace was different, and I was surprised that I really enjoyed it. It’s one of very few European films I’ve watched with subtitles (the only other one I can recall watching is Le Dîner de Cons, which was hilarious). This 2004 Spanish film was serious, which normally turns me off, but the subject intrigued me: drugs mules.
When the news story about the two cocaine mules arrested in Peru broke, I’m pretty sure most of us were thinking, “Why would you agree to carry drugs?”. Maria Full of Grace gave a possible answer: being deceived and taken in by a ‘lovely’ guy who really only wants you to agree to become a mule. Also, the money offered to Maria, the main character, was tempting, since she had just lost her job as a rose de-thorner. The film offered a clear picture as to why people agree to become mules, and provides a view from the drug mule’s perspective.
It’s frighteningly sombre at times, but didn’t make me want to cry. I did feel some sympathy for Maria, as things inevitably don’t go to plan. What I really loved about this film was its ordinariness. It didn’t need any special effects, and it allowed me to see another side of the drug mule story.