This movie sneaks up on you.
Ostensibly it is the story of how Captain John Smith helped found the Jamestown Colony in Virginia, and of the story of Pocahontas and her love for the Captain. It shows how she saved the Captain from death by her father Powhatan, and how she encourages her tribe to help the settlers survive starvation. Pocahontas marriage and trip to England, where she is favourably reviewed by King James, is also detailed. Given the information available, the movie is faithful to the historical records and biographical details of the various players in this story.
Having said this, the movie tells a number of other stories. It shows the Europeans and the Algonquians as realistic characters, both moving together into a strange new universe of understanding. The land and water are some of the main characters of the movie, being vast, serene, still, and yet full of life. People (Native and Settler) live within this world, but they are swallowed up in the immensity and cathedral-like forests and plains. This movie is by no means an action-adventure spectacular.
The story of the young Algonquin girl fascinated and affected me the most. She was perfectly cast, connects with you immediately, and draws you through the main theme of this movie. The interaction between her and the worlds she graces were the most compelling aspects. I don’t want to give anything more away, but I was exptremely impressed by Q’Orianka Kilsher, who was 14 while acting for this drama.
Be patient and give it a chance. Highly Recommended.