Dialogue as poetry in The New World

I find it difficult to adequately convey my feelings about one of the best and most personally moving films I have ever seen, Terrence Malick’s The New World. In the meantime, I will let the film’s characters speak for themselves.

Below is a sample of some of my favorite lines of dialogue from The New World. ?Of course, reading these words does a disservice to the film, as their full impact can only be fully experienced in the context of the film itself. The film is almost dreamlike in the way it unfolds, with each element its own expression of poetry. Read for yourself –

John Smith: [voiceover] Who are you whom I so faintly hear? Who urge me ever on? What voice is this that speaks within me . . . guides me towards the best? We shall make a new start. A fresh beginning. Here the blessings of the earth are bestowed upon all. None need grow poor. Here there is good ground for all, and no cost but one’s labor. We shall build a true common wealth, hard work and self reliance our virtues. We shall have no landlords to reack us with high rents or extort the fruit of our labor.

John Smith: [voiceover] If only I could go down that river. To love her in the wild, forget the name of Smith. I should tell her. Tell her what? It was just a dream. I am now awake.

Pocahontas: [voiceover] Mother, why can I not feel as I should… must? Once false, I must not be again. Take out the thorn.

John Smith: Love . . . shall we deny it when it visits us . . . shall we not take what we are given.

Pocahontas: What else is life but being near you? Do they suspect? Oh, to be given to you; you to me. I will be faithful to you. True.

John Rolfe: [voiceover] When first I saw her she was regarded as someone finished, lost, broken. She seemed barely to notice of the others about her.

Pocahontas: Did you find your Indies, John? You shall.
John Smith: I may have sailed past them.

John Smith: [voiceover] They are gentle, loving, faithful, lacking in all guile and trickery. The words denoting lying, deceit, greed, envy, slander, and forgiveness have never been heard. They have no jealousy, no sense of possession. Real, what I thought a dream.

John Rolfe: In my vanity, I thought I could make you love me and one can not do that or should not.

Pocahontas: [voiceover] I will find joy in all I see.

Pocahontas: Mother, now I know where you live.

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