Thursday, November 13, 2008


Maria Full of Grace was a film that took an idealistic approach on displaying what it means to live in a capitalistic society, where greed is urged, and equality is dismissed. During this magnificent film our main character had to choose between either suffering in poverty like conditions, or engaging in criminal activity to make a living to help she and her family out. She started out in a flower plantation, working like that of a slave making pennies on the dollar, which is the typical capitalistic set up. Clearly, she could not put up with the provisions set forth with dealing with this job, and therefore had made the choice to quit. There was a scene where the manager did not even allow her to use the bathroom. It is through that scene there, where we began to identify with what capitalism is—slavery! She was forced to work against her personal health, to fulfill the obligations of her employer, even though she was getting the low end of the deal.

In addition, she was her family’s main provider of finance, which led her to have an added stress. Also, she became pregnant, and was a peasant in Colombia. During the film she became connected with a drug pen, who introduced her into the act of becoming a mule. This is the process of drug smuggling via human beings. The people are forced to swallow a certain amount in pounds of drugs sufficient to their bodily makeup, just enough for their body to handle. The destination of these drugs is usually the United States. Upon completion of the flight, she encountered customs, but because she was pregnant she was able to debunk the process and slipped pass the security measures.

After doing her part she was given her share of currency and scheduled to exit the U.S and enter back into Colombia. However, upon entering the plane to return back to Colombia she made a conscientious decision to remain. Being pregnant Maria felt being in the U.S was the best move to make for the better welfare of her developing baby. She had money and already knew some people whom she felt would most likely help her get by.

The explanation that this movie gives for crime is sort of a justification as to why most poor people engage in crime. Maria in many cases had very little outlets to turn to in terms of fixing her situation. She needed money and had a child of her own on the way, she felt smuggling drugs was the easy way out. Currently, the Criminal Justice system does not acknowledge to investigate the personal and/or individual reasoning behind one committing crime, which in my opinion is a downfall in this notion of “justice and equal for all.” Oftentimes, there are logical reasons behind a person committing what we call crime. Some may not see a crime as a crime. For example, a poor person may commit shoplifting, but because they are poor and have no means for paying for the product. To the ears of many that is a reasonable justification for committing that crime; however, to the CJS it is not. As a result, with faulty policy making and the aforementioned fallacies, disparities in crime start to form.

In this film, we actually see what society deems as evil, in a good light. We start to understand what goes through the mind of a criminal, when actually choosing to engage in such behavior. I personally had to disagree with Justice in terms of Maria’s individual case, because I was able to identify with her reasoning behind committing the crime of smuggling drugs. As a person in Criminal Justice I am told to have total disregard for her reasoning, which is unfair to a large degree. But what attracts us is our ever increasing need to feel sympathy for Maria. This film was strategically written to force its viewers to feel. I felt her pain back in Colombia and her hope while she was in the U.S. That is how the director was able to bring realism into the film, by introducing actual feelings that we experience in everyday life into the film.

In sociohistorical terms of today, this film holds a great honor, for it displays exactly what has been going on since the beginning of capitalism; the poor having to find other means for surviving, usually because there is no other outlet for them to prosper. One hidden reality I think that may not have been to clear to people in the end was that Maria was not really in a place any much better than Colombia. The U.S is the capitalistic capital. Though she now had extra opportunities and a sense of hope, it could not be considered pure. The American Dream is a fraud, and sense of false hope. The way in which the system is designed is to have people believing that some day they can make it to that American Dream, if they just work harder for the corporations that continue to enslave them legally. In the U.S because of her status, Maria would work a job low end job, and because it feels better than Colombia, she would be content without even realizing that the same operation was occurring again. Thus the system of degradation and capitalism was just simply recycled from one place to another, but since oftentimes people in Maria’s position do not have the intellectual capacity to understand that, they simply remain uninformed.

This has forced the viewer to really question who the real criminals are. Clearly we learn that the people who are really committing the crime are both protected not only on the bad side but also on the supposedly good side (govt). Overall, this film has displayed excellence in accomplishing the task of compiling all factual aspects in terms of the poor, their struggle, and crime. Until this is fully realized by the masses within society, such films will continue to be nothing more than entertainment, as the phrase “it is a dog eat dog world” remains the reality in all capitalistic societies.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this movie, and it was so sad! The lines between criminal and victim are often blurred in these types of scenarios. This is all the more reason why we need to pay more attention to the poor so that crime is not the obvious choice for survival.