I enjoyed this movie, but I suspect I'll probably enjoy it with a second or third viewing. Also, maybe if I plan to watch it (instead of turning it on because it happens to be on unexpectedly), and watch it when I'm not tired and can focus, then I'll enjoy it more.
Terence Malick is a very acquired taste, but is capable of providing some rewarding stuff. One has to be in the right mood to enjoy his stuff, but if you can get into that groove, then the experience is quite something. This take on the Pocahontas story, while taking liberties and guilty of some inaccuracies, does far better justice than the 90s raping perpetrated by Disney. For one, this is just better shot, not (really as, if at all) whitewashed, and just a better production all around. Oddly enough, Christian Bale is involved with both films.
Despite some license with history/story, and a purposeful desire to focus on the romance, this is a thoughtful, gorgeous poem about culture, nature, and life. As is common with Malick's work, the cinematography and visuals are absolutely stunning. This sucker is just wonderful to stare at. What misgivings the story has are made up with more faithful attempts to accurately depict cultures, sets, locations, and costumes. The art direction and set design, like the camera work, are dynamite.
The real star of the show is nature. The humans do a good job too, but they are merely supporting players, even the characters who are supposed to be the leads. This is art, so I'm sure most people won't like this. It wouldn't be what they're expecting. Much like 2001, Solaris, and other great works of art, this film is long, slow paced, and features minimal dialogue. I appreciate the subtlety and not having everything handed to me. What's odd though is that while there's not much dialogue, there's a lot of voice overs to fill in the gaps. Some don't like this (as I've read), but it didn't bug me too much. One thing I really appreciated is how not all of the scenes with Native Americans speaking are subtitled. I liked that. It makes the viewer pay attention and pulls them into feeling just like the colonists in terms of having to jump a communication hurdle.
I wanted to like this more, but I found it hard to watch. For the reasons I opened this review with, it's not so much to the fault of the film. I think you should give this a chance, if only to stare and gorgeous images and listen to beautiful music while cultures clash in an artistically rendered historical romance.