Parents' Guide to

The New World

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Poetic telling of John Smith and Pocahontas myth.

Movie PG-13 2005 150 minutes
The New World Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

If you understand Native American culture and spirituality

this movie is the first and best movie I've seen that portrays NA spirituality, integration with the natural world, family and tribal life, generosity and intelligence. The long nature scenes and internal dialogs of Pocahontas and John Smith are the best parts of the film but persons who lack self-awareness, have never tried to understand another culture nor lived in one will lack the tools to understand what they are seeing. This is the central point of the film. And the cause of conflict. Time and timelessness are also cultural constructs- you live by the minute hand of the clock or you live larger, through the cycles of the moon, the seasons. Displays of reverence for the sacred through ceremony are also Native American symbols most non- Native Americans will totally miss. So I would say that the more boring or slow you find this movie to be is a clear indication of how little time you probably spend in nature, how little understanding or patience you have of other cultures and how little time you've spent contemplating your own. Fellow white people, get off your phones, the internet, and go out and meet some people who are completely different from yourselves. Spend time in nature without having to kill a fish or bird or deer for sport. And thank The Great Mystery, make an offering of thanks (tobacco) to the creatures that gave up their life to sustain you, for the fresh air, the clean waters, the trees and plants that shelter and heal you, for the sun and rain that nourish your gardens, every moment of every day...and it will change you for the better.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

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.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 23, 2005
  • On DVD or streaming: May 9, 2006
  • Cast: Christian Bale , Colin Farrell , Q'Orianka Kilcher
  • Director: Terrence Malick
  • Inclusion Information: Middle Eastern/North African directors, Female actors, Indigenous actors, Latino actors, Multiracial actors
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 150 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: some intense battle sequences
  • Last updated: October 14, 2022

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