Frustrated with her menial job at a rose plantation, bright 17-year-old Maria Alvarez (Moreno) agrees to be a "drug mule" for a crime syndicate — a task that involves swallowing 60 latex pellets of heroin and boarding a plane for New Jersey. But nothing goes according to plan, and Maria soon finds herself adrift and on the lam in a foreign land.
Marston's harrowing film about poverty and the illegal drug trade follows a likable young woman through a hellish gauntlet of unpleasant events, beginning with her disembarkation at the Newark airport. With arresting performances from non-pros like Vega, playing Maria's friend and fellow mule, and Orlando Torbon as a community activist, "Grace" has the urgency of a newspaper series on the flipside of America's appetite for both flowers and drugs. But the film belongs to newcomer Moreno, an icon of grace under fire who burrows right into your heart.