Friday, Dec. 17, 2004

Maria, Full Of Grace

A young Colombian woman tries to escape a dead-end life by becoming a mule for drug smugglers. It is a harrowing way to make your way out of poverty, and an equally difficult way of discovering that you are a better person than you think you are. But the heart-breakingly beautiful Catalina Sandino Moreno as the title character is up for the task. Her performance goes beyond art to artlessness — this is acting as behavior — and is emblematic of writer-director Joshua Marston's straightforward, unsentimental tale moving from darkness into the light of... well, yes, goodness and grace.