A worthy, humdrum and often far-fetched item about the redemption of a Caracas street urchin, “Maroa” is stuck between socially concerned neo-realism and soapish melodrama, but functions as neither. Decent perfs from a mostly Venezuelan cast and the occasional winsome moment are not enough to save the project from drowning in its own cliches. Theatrical prospects look limited beyond domestic, but its good intentions could be rewarded by the odd fest appearance.
Petty criminal teen Maroa (Yorlis Dominguez) lives with violent grandmother Brigida (Elba Escobar). After her b.f. Carlos (Enghel Alejo) is involved in a shooting, Maroa is arrested and sent to a school where Joaquin (Tristan Ulloa) conducts the youth orchestra, which he asks the naturally talented Maroa to join. Rest of the pic deals with their troubled relationship. Though the street scenes feel authentically gritty, there is too little overall excitement to be had. Helmer elicits decent perfs from a mostly youthful cast, and debutante Dominguez as Maroa in particular does well in a sensitively-drawn role, but Spanish thesp Ulloa struggles to work up interest in his mono-dimensional good guy.