Not Pauline Kael’s review published on Letterboxd:
Terrence Malick wrote and directed this story of adultery, set principally in the wheat fields of the Texas Panhandle just before America entered the First World War. It's both a nostalgic and an anti- nostalgic vision of the American past. The landscapes are vast and lonely, with the space in the images strained and the figures tilted; the characters are monosyllabic-near-mute. What is unspoken in this picture weighs heavily on us, but we're not quite sure what it is. The film is an empty Christmas tree: you can hang all your dumb metaphors on it. Richard Gere plays Bill, who works in a blast furnace in Chicago; he gets into a brawl with the foreman and heads south, taking his girl, Abby (Brooke Adams), and his 12-year-old sister, Linda (Linda Manz), with him. They find work in the fields of a wealthy young farmer (Sam Shepard), who falls in love with Abby. When Bill learns that the farmer may be dying, he encourages Abby to marry him-so that she can soon be a rich widow. The movie is oblique, except for the narration, which is by Linda; she's a little-girl wise guy, and all the humor in the film comes from her laconic remarks, but she's also precociously full of the wisdom of the ages, and at times her illiterate poetry is drenched in wistfulness and heartbreak. Shot by Nestor Almendros, with additional photography by Haskell Wexler, the film is a series of pictorial effects- some of them, such as a train passing over a lacework bridge, extraordinary-but the overpowering images seem unrelated, pieced together. The movie suffers from too many touches, too many ideas that don't grow out of anything organic. It's an epic pastiche. Though the irregularly handsome, slightly snaggletoothed Shepard has almost no lines, he makes a strong impression; he seems authentically an American of an earlier era. But Gere, with his post-50s acting style and the associations it carries of Brando and Dean and Clift and all the others who shrugged and scowled and acted with their shoulders, is anachronistic. Shot in Alberta, Canada. Released by Paramount.