Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 50
    This is like a Tony Scott movie on quaaludes: Words and pictures are matched up in counterintuitive ways, and although the cutting is much slower than in Scott's hyperactive showboating, it makes just about as much sense. The movie's leisureliness is aggressive; the picture is artfully designed to make you feel that if you're bored, it's your own damn fault.
  2. This is resolutely a film of the imagination. As with all films in Malick's slim body of work, its imagery, haunting sounds and pastoral mood trump narrative.
  3. 100
    Pocahontas was given the gift of sensing the whole picture, and that is what Malick founds his film on, not tawdry stories of love and adventure. He is a visionary, and this story requires one.
  4. In the end, it's a sweeping, important film that overturns everything you learned in school about the birth of this nation.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    100
    The New World is something I don't think I've ever seen before on a movie screen: an epic lyrical dialectic. Self-indulgent, gorgeous, maddening, grueling, ultimately transcendent, it's a Terrence Malick movie all the way, and possibly the director's most sustained work since 1972's "Badlands."
  6. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    100
    Scene for radiant scene, shot for nary a wasted shot, The New World is the most artfully sculpted film in American cinema this year.
  7. 88
    Malick and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki -- a grandmaster at blending color and natural light -- craft a tone poem that may throw some audiences through its use of interior monologues.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    88
    Malick's nature documentarian impulse has never been more flagrant than in The New World, yet it has never made more organic sense. The film, which is superb on every technical and design level, has both greatness and fuzzy-headedness in it.
  9. Not since Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" and Malick's own "Days of Heaven" has a movie been both so breathtakingly beautiful and so narratively abstract.
  10. 75
    The New World is beautiful and lyrical and, except for the ill-advised voiceovers, a treat for more than one of the senses.
  11. 63
    First written in the early '80s, Terrence Malick's fourth film in three decades is a trancelike take on the relationship of Native American princess Matoaka - better known by the nickname Pocahontas and English adventurer John Smith.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    Pocahontas catching us off-guard with an impromptu cartwheel isn't the knock-you-down brainstorm of Naomi Watts juggling for King Kong, but it's still deliciously inspired. Trouble is, the bit lasts two seconds, while the movie is a long "might have been" that's doomed to be buried in a flurry of strong late-year releases.
  13. Yes, a Terence Malick film remains an event, but he appears awfully disoriented in The New World -- less a seasoned traveller than a perplexed tourist, content to mask his confusion by reaching for a camera and snapping relentless pretty pictures.
  14. Perhaps the director should make only silent movies. Scenes where characters communicate via eyes and body language usually work here, even if we don't know exactly what's going on.
  15. 50
    For all its splendor, The New World is really a love affair between Malick and his camera.
  16. 50
    This lavish coffee-table-book of a movie gradually reveals itself as an uninvolving, crashing bore.
  17. As the camera moves through the tall grass of this new world, there comes the realization that we could be within any one of Terrence Malick's movies, any one of the previous three stunners he has made in his 35-year-long career.
  18. Many have tried, but none can match Malick's touch for shuffling a deck of elegiac images (water/sky/clouds/rain) and fanning out the hand to express what speech cannot; he's a master, too, of incorporating sound that is often wordless but never empty.
  19. It's a richly textured, leisurely paced, visually impressionistic epic of the American past that fairly hypnotizes the viewer with its tapestry of sights, sounds and colors.
  20. 91
    Despite its haphazard rhythms and longueurs, The New World achieves an emotional payoff unlike anything else in Malick's work. It's all you think his movies are, and more.
  21. 83
    Malick is a unique director of extraordinary gifts, of that there can be no doubt. If he ever chooses to shoot a script as fine as his technique, he will surely produce a masterpiece of the medium.
  22. The idealization of the native American existence in The New World, precolonization, is a pleasing fantasy but also timeworn and ahistorical. Surely someone as sophisticated as Malick - who once taught philosophy at MIT and was a Rhodes scholar - understands that he is putting forth a fabrication.
  23. A work of breathtaking imagination, less a movie than a mode of transport, and in every sense a masterpiece.
  24. 80
    However complicated the historical issues at play, the poetic introspection that consumes The New World's characters could only take place in a Terrence Malick movie. But, here at least, history and lyrical drift go together surprisingly well.
  25. At the heart of it all is an entrancing lead performance by the teenage Kilcher.
  26. If the affair seems strangely ethereal, as if it were taking place in another dimension, in a lovelier, more enchanted realm, it is because Mr. Malick is fashioning a countermythology in The New World, one to replace, or at least challenge, a mythology already in place.
  27. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    Malick's magnificent, frustrating epic mixes fact and legend to conjure up a reverie about Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher), her love for Capt. John Smith (Colin Farrell) and her crossing from one culture to another.
  28. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    This is no breathless film fantasy; its pulse is stately, contemplative. But anyone who has keen eyes and an open heart will surely go soaring and crashing with the lovers lost in Malick's exotic, erotic new world.
  29. 80
    Whole passages of non-event stream by, and you half want to scream, and yet--damn it all--by the end of The New World the spell of the images, plus the enigma of Kilcher's expression (she is as sculpted as an idol, and every bit as amenable to worship), somehow breaks you down.
  30. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    70
    The New World takes a shopworn American myth--and runs it through the Malick-izer, making it feel rich, strange, and new. In so doing, the film takes wild liberties with historical accuracy.
  31. 60
    Malick's long, moody, diaphanous account of love and loss in 17th-century Jamestown--shot, more or less, on location--rarely achieves the symphonic grandeur it seeks. As an epic, it's monumentally slight.
  32. 50
    Well before The New World's two-and-one-half hours are up, Malick's tree-hugging reveries have become suffocating, no matter the unquestionable tastefulness with which they're rendered -- more painterly vistas, more Wagner (and a little Mozart, too), ravishing re-creations of 17th-century London. Surely, only a Philistine could find any fault with this, or believe, perchance, that Malick's famous poetic beauty had turned poetically fatal.
  33. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    Malick's exalted visuals and isolated metaphysical epiphanies are ill-supported by a muddled, lurching narrative, resulting in a sprawling, unfocused account of an epochal historical moment.
  34. The New World is stately almost to the point of being static and thus has trouble finding a central story around which to arrange itself; it's not quite the thin dead line, but it's close.
  35. Malick continues to float along the edge of the American film world as an unusually intelligent personage who occasionally delivers the fruit of his meditations. But his role as adjunct philosophe is better than the films he eventually gives us.
  36. Malick still has an eye for landscapes, but since "Badlands" (1973) his storytelling skill has atrophied, and he's now given to transcendental reveries, discontinuous editing, offscreen monologues, and a pie-eyed sense of awe. All these things can be defended, even celebrated, but I couldn't find my bearings.
  37. If only the showmanship were equal to the scholarship. As beautiful as the film is (despite notable variations in the quality of the cinematography), it is also sluggish, underdramatized after that initial suspense, and for the most part emotionally remote.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 183 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 102
  2. Negative: 26 out of 102
  1. Nov 30, 2011
    10
    Terrence Malick is a genius and a real artist. Exactly... This film is lighter then The Thin Red Line, but The New World is an amazing philosophical orgasm. Long and slow, even so beautiful and never dull. Colin Farrell is a great actor, but the best was Christian Bale. The script is lyrical, the shot is wonderful. Need more? Full Review »
  2. Dec 23, 2011
    6
    Malick's "The New World" try's to be profound and is at times, but it is always held back by it's horrible storytelling, Malick is master of all technical elements in film but he fails to draw in his audience. One can marvel at all his other skills like the cinematography and well written dialogue, but they will always be distant from the story. The begining of the film captivated my mind and pulled me in. However halfway through the film Malick failed to capture the love story and present it in a interesting way. Malick's The New World is a great story but it's extreme length and bad storytelling stop this film from being a masterpiece Full Review »
  3. Jul 29, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Great plot, great performance, awesome pictures - film that makes you thinking. In this film I find out how important in the movie is silence and how unpopular it is. Great performance of Q`orianka Kilcher, Colin Farrell and Christian Bale gives you much more that can be put in words - for me the whole production is worth watching. Full Review »