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Revision: María, Llena Eres de Gracia

With barely a month and a half until it’s all over, revision is pretty much dominating everything at the moment. It seems only right that it should be the same on here. I debated whether or not to do posts for the films we’re studying, but I’ve found this kind of consolidation really helpful, and I hope you have, too. In the upcoming weeks, expect A Level revision posts on English Literature from Lydia, and more on English Language from both of us.

Below are all my study notes for María, Llena Eres de Gracia. If you have any, please comment below.


Plot

The film opens while Maria and Blanca queue for a bus. It is still dark, but her mother sees her off. By the time they arrive at the plantation, it’s light. We see them work at boring and repetitive tasks.

Maria and Juan then kiss against an unfinished building. She keeps her eyes open, bored. Eventually, she decides to climb it, asking Juan to join her. He doesn’t, leaving.

When Maria returns home, her family argue about the fact that Pacho is ill. Her mum makes bread for dinner, but she refuses, instead eating sausages.

Back at work, Maria asks her boss if she can go to the toilet. He says no, even though she feels unwell, and she is sick on some flowers. He yells at her to clean them.

When she joins her mother and Diana in the pharmacy, they demand that she pays for Pacho’s medicine. She doesn’t want to, but does anyway, telling them that she quit her job.

At a party that evening, Juan is getting very drunk. Blanca dances with a boy, and so Maria asks Juan to dance, but he doesn’t want to. Franklin asks her to dance, and so she does.

The next day, Maria prays in church. She visits Juan to tell him that she’s pregnant. He asks her to marry him, but because they don’t love eachother, she says no.

Maria plans to go to Bogota to find a job. Franklin offers her a lift on his bike, and she accepts. He offers her a job as a mule, and takes her to meet the drug lord Javier. He gives her a down payment while she decides.

On the bus back, she meets Lucy, who helps instruct her on how to manage.

When her family demand that she finds a new job, she refuses and shows them some of Javier’s mule money.

She goes to Lucy’s house to learn how to swallow drug pellets, using grapes. She can’t do it, but continues to practice later in the mirror.

Blanca announces that she knows Maria’s plan and that she’s going, too. Maria disapproves, telling her not to.

Maria’s family watch her pack, not understanding why she’s leaving.

Maria goes to a pharmacy to swallow the pellets. She refuses any extra anaesthetic, ending up swallowing 62 pellets.

They then take the plane to New York. There are multiple mules on the plane. During the flight, Lucy feels ill. When she’s in the toilet, two of Maria’s pellets come out. She uses her toothpaste to swallow them again. She also loses the address for the hotel, instead asking Lucy for her sister’s.

On the way out, Maria and another mule are stopped by airport security. When questioned, Maria lies about the drugs, but agrees to an x-ray. Fortunately, they discover that she’s pregnant, and so cannot have an x-ray. She meets the other mules outside, where they are taken to the hotel. They remain there until they expell all the pellets.

During this time, Lucy becomes more and more ill, due to one of her pellets rupturing. Maria sees the traffickers take Lucy out of the room at night, leaving blood in the bathroom. She realises that they must have cut her open to retrieve the rest of the pellets, before disposing of her body. Because of this, she persuades Blanca that they must leave, running away with the pellets.

They eventually go to Lucy’s sister’s house. On the way, they have an argument, so Maria proceeds alone. She doesn’t tell Carla that Lucy is dead, and so Carla gives her a place to stay and helps her find her feet. Blanca eventually catches up. During this time, Maria goes to an ultrasound and sees her baby.

Carla introduces them to Don Fernando, where Blanca accidentally reveals the drugs. He realises how they arrived, calling the police to try and find Lucy’s body. Through this, Carla finds out that Maria was involved in Lucy’s death, throwing them out.

They then meet up with the traffickers, giving them the drugs and taking the money. Maria wants to give Carla Lucy’s money, but they refuse to give it to her. She uses some of her own money to send Lucy home to be buried.

When Blanca and Maria go to the airport to go home, Maria lets Blanca go through and then decides to stay. We see her heading back to New York, and the film ends.


Themes

An important theme of the film is immigration. We see the lack of opportunities in Columbia, and therefore the appeal of moving to the USA. However, we also see how difficult this choice is for Carla and then Maria.

Religion features heavily. Maria is a religious name, after Mary, mother of Jesus. In fact, the title of the film is a religious reference, to Maria “full of grace” with the unborn Jesus. Similarly, Maria is also pregnant. Also, we are reminded of her role as a believer throughout the film. She wears a necklace with a cross on, and prays regularly.

The role of women is also important. Maria works at a boring job, but as the only member of her family who can work, she has no choice. Without an education, she has no hope of a better job, either. Her sister is a single mother, who has been abandoned by Pacho’s father. This shows the responsibilities of women under poverty. Also, Maria is pregnant at only 17, showing further the lack of education and resources.

Poverty is another theme. Three generations of Maria’s family live under the same roof, and Maria doesn’t have her own room. We also see that numerous people are so desperate that they swallow drugs, risking the law and death.

Tradition is also key. Juan asks Maria to marry him when he finds out that she’s pregnant because it is traditional, not because he actually wants to. He also refuses to live with Maria’s family, as it is traditional to move into the husband’s house.


Characters

María is a seventeen-year-old girl who is bored of her life in Columbia. She works at a flower plantation, doing boring work.

Juan is Maria’s boyfriend. He is clearly not in love with Maria, and instead just uses her when he wants her.

Pacho is Maria’s nephew. He is ill, and needs expensive medicine. He is also an innocent that requires Maria’s help, and therefore a responsibility.

Diana is Maria’s older sister and Pacho’s mother. She is unable to work as she must care for her son. She is also raising her son as a single mother.

Franklin is someone who works for the drug traffickers. He recruits Maria. He also has a very different image to Juan, with a leather jacket and a motorbike.

Blanca is Maria’s best friend.  They work together at the flower plantation.

Lucy is another drug mule. She has been several times before, and wasn’t planning to travel with Maria, but decides at the last minute to visit her sister.

Javier is the drug baron that Franklin introduces Maria to. He threatens her family with violence if Maria betrays him.

Carla is Lucy’s sister who lives in New York. She immigrated there several years ago. She is married with a child, and expecting her second.


 

I also made a revision course on Memrise with all the key vocab.

Good luck!

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