A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Old world and New World encounters are the subject of this movie. European settlers corrupt the land and abuse the Native peoples already residing in the "New World."
Positive Role Models
It is hard to call out anything in this film as role model worthy because of the incredibly culturally sensitive material being explored. Needless to say, wrongs of the past do not exist in a vacuum, and this film can certainly instigate a discussion between you and your teen about America's shared colonial past.
Violence & Scariness
Battle scenes include explosions, spearings, shootings, and beatings.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and nuzzling in primitive setting; declarations of love.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some smoking and drinking by the Europeans; Native rituals involve hallucinatory images.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film is focused on a clash of civilizations, European and Native Indian, beginning in 1607. Depicted largely in metaphorical imagery of woods, fields, rivers, and the settlement called Jamestown, the movie shows the difficulty of intercultural communication. It includes battle scenes (with guns, spears, tomahawks, explosions, and bloody bodies), as well as long, lyrical (non-narrative) passages that might be uninteresting for some younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Malick's film is of two minds. On one hand, it refutes this pretty story by making Smith overtly a problem, an arrogant adventurer. On another, it offers poetic images to suggest she continues to love this white invader even after he abandons her.
Impressionistic as his films will be, Malick brings to bear on this saga a fascinated (and at times, fascinating) patience, as his camera wafts over natural woodsy scenes or dense rainfalls. Pocahontas warns John Rolfe, "There are things you don't know, things you could not guess." Ah yes, but her ripe mystery is so captivating that he can't not want her. However Rolfe or Smith or even you comprehend her, Pocahontas' tragedy is just this desire, that has so little to do with her.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.