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Marta Cabrera.webp

Here, I'd like to propose a character from the famous murder mystery movie, Knives Out, and the main character of the movie, Marta Cabrera.

What is the Work?

Marta Cabrera is the main protagonist of the 2019 film, Knives Out. It focuses around the murder of the famous murder mystery writer, Harlan Thrombey, who was found with his throat slit. Marta is found as the main suspect, and the film revolves around her as she attempts to avoid being placed as a suspect.

Who is She? What Has She Done?

Marta is Harlan's personal nurse, and the two spend a lot of time together, with Marta being practically Harlan's only true friend.

One night, when she and Harlan are playing Go, she accidentally administers an overdose of morphine. When she attempts to find the Nalaxone to administer as an antidote, she's unable to find it and tries calling the police. However, Harlan doesn't want Marta's family to be investigated, so he decides to commit suicide and have Marta sneak out, having an alibi for her to ensure that she isn't marked as a suspect.

When private investigator Benoit Blanc questions every member of the family, he eventually gets to Marta. Because of her inability to tell a lie without throwing up, she reveals secrets of the family Harlan had told her about. When he questions her about the circumstances of Harlan's death, she responds with half-truths without revealing the full extent of her involvement.

When Harlan's will is read, Marta is utterly shocked when she discovers Harlan gave everything to Marta instead of his family. Unsure of what to do and overwhelmed by this unexpected event, she leaves the mansion along with Ransom. The two talk, and she tells him the truth about Harlan's death. He agrees to help her in exchange for her giving him a part of the inheritance. The other members of Harlan's family attempt to blackmail her after learning about her mother's status as an illegal immigrant.

She suddenly gets a blackmail note with a print-out of Harlan's toxicology report, which would reveal the overdose of morphine. She and Ransom go to the medical examiner's office, though the building was burned down the night before. After that, she receives an anonymous email detailing a meeting with the blackmailer. When arriving, she notices Fran on the floor, overdosed with morphine. She wakes Fran up, and is shocked when she states that she knew Marta killed Harlan. Instead of allowing her to die and removing a witness to her crime, she calls the police and gets Fran to the hospital. She waits for Fran at the hospital with detective Blanc, and attempts to confess her crimes, though Blanc reveals that Ransom already confessed.

The two return to Harlan's house, where Marta considers returning inheritance to the family, though Blanc steps in and tells the family none of them deserve Harlan's inheritance due to their greed and for treating Marta so poorly for many years. Marta attempts to accept the punishment for killing Harlan, but Detective Blanc reveals that the mystery is not what any of them anticipated. The police bring Ransom in, and Blanc begins unraveling the truth about Harlan's murder. Ransom decided to kill Harlan after being cut out from the will by switching the vials, giving Harlan an overdose of morphine so Marta would accidentally kill Harlan, invoking the Slayer Rule and giving Ransom back his share of the will. However, Marta unknowingly gave Harlan the correct medication because she felt the slight difference in viscosity, meaning Harlan was perfectly fine and his life was in no danger. After learning this, Ransom burned down the medical examiner's office to destroy the evidence revealing Marta's innocence. Then, Fran, who'd learned of Ransom's actions, blackmailed him, but he confronted her and overdosed her with morphine, sending the anonymous email to Marta so she'd arrive and be blamed for Fran's death. However, Marta saved her by calling the police, and an extra toxicology report Fran stashed proved Marta's innocence.

Marta gets a call from the hospital saying that Fran is alive, causing Ransom to become confident since his crimes are minor. However, Marta vomits, revealing that Fran died from the drug overdose. With nothing left to lose, Ransom attempts to kill Marta with a nearby knife, but it's a trick knife, allowing Ransom to be arrested. As the rest of the family leaves the house, Marta talks with Blanc, still unsure of whether to give the inheritance back to the family. Blanc tells her that he's confident she'll do the right thing. She then watches as the family leaves while standing on top of the balcony.

Admirable Standard

Marta really displays herself as a very honorable woman who far stands out from any regular person. For one, she treats Harlan as a genuine friend, not as the rich tycoon who's made a fortune writing murder mysteries. While the rest of Harlan's family piggybacks on Harlan's success and money, Marta's the only one who values him as a person and the only one he could truly count on as a confidant. When she accidentally administers the wrong dosage, she's driven to tears when she can't find the Nalaxone and tries to call the police. She reluctantly goes along with Harlan's plan only for her mother's sake so her status as an illegal immigrant isn't exposed.

Marta's shown to be very generous and humble as well. Unlike the rest of Harlan's greedy family, who would constantly mooch off of and even steal his money and who were all-too-eager to wait and hear what shares of Harlan's inheritance they'd receive from Harlan's will, Marta reacted to shock and uncertainty when learning she inherited everything. Even knowing that she'd be living a much better life for herself and for her mother, she didn't think of it with the greedy mindset. She was very conflicted about whether to give it back to Harlan's family out of pity, and the only reason she wanted to keep the money was SOLELY to honor Harlan's wishes. Not because she'd get to keep the house, his assets, and company, but because of her respect for Harlan.

One of her most admirable qualities is her incredible kindness. Even though Harlan's family had treated Marta like crap for years, she still remained cordial with them and was conflicted about what to do with the inheritance the entire film. One of the people she was closest with was Meg Thrombey, who actually treated her with respect and who betrayed her by revealing the status of Marta's mom as an illegal immigrant to try and blackmail Marta into giving back the inheritance. Marta doesn't display any anger towards this betrayal and hugs her in understanding when they talk back at the mansion. Then, when she saw Fran on the verge of death overdosed with morphine, believing Fran knew the truth, she chose to call the police, risking getting herself thrown in jail and losing the inheritance to try and save her life. Finally, with Ransom, he's responsible for Harlan's death, he lied and manipulated her the entire time, and tried to kill her, but she doesn't show any satisfaction at his arrest or hatred towards him.

Corrupting Factors

I can't really say she has any corrupting factors. I mean, she didn't come forward immediately with the truth about Harlan's death, but that was because she was uncertain of what to do, she wanted to protect her mother's illegal immigrant status, she still wanted to follow Harlan's will to honor his decision. Besides, Ransom's the one who manipulated her the entire time into not giving up the will. She eventually chose to confess her "crime" when Fran was taken to the hospital and take responsibility by going to jail, so honestly I can't see any of this as truly corrupting.

Overall Verdict

As Benoit Blanc says himself, Marta stands out in the film as a truly kind nurse who only wanted to be a friend to Harlan and support her mother. Because of this and her significant lack of corrupting factors, I believe Marta should be approved.