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New Waterford Girl

New Waterford Girl

Year: 1999
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 97 min
Director: Allan Moyle
Producer: Julia Sereny, Jennifer Kawaja
Writer: Tricia Fish
Cinematographer: Derek Rogers
Editor: Susan Maggi
Sound: Alastair Gray
Music: Geoff Bennett
Cast: Cathy Moriarty, Mary Walsh, Andrew McCarthy, Tara Nairn, Liane Balaban, Nicholas Campbell
Production Company: Imagex (Halifax), Sienna Films

New Waterford Girl is a delightful, dark comedy about a teenager who dreams of escaping from a conservative, East Coast mining town. In the town of New Waterford: the Virgin Mary is always watching, a girl’s reputation means everything, pride is paramount and those who leave tend to leave in shame.

Fifteen-year-old Mooney Pottie (Balaban) just can’t relate — not to her family, not to her friends; in fact, not to anyone in the whole town. Because leaving New Waterford is not an option, Mooney long ago withdrew into her overactive imagination — the only sane place she can find. Cecil Sweeny (McCarthy), a spirited but outcast high school teacher, appreciates and encourages her uniqueness and her interest in art. But her raucous family collectively feels that she "needs her head examined."

When Lou Benzoa (Spencer-Nairn) and her family move in next door, Mooney is swept up in Lou’s thrill-seeking wake. Fresh from the Bronx in New York, Lou is captivated by this strange little town and wants desperately to fit in. Soon enough, she warms her way into the hearts of the local tough girls by taking a swing at the men who have crossed them. As Lou’s father, a boxer, says, "If they’re guilty, they fall.” And indeed they do. Meanwhile, the two girls concoct a devious plan to help Mooney get her wish, although many people's reputations may be compromised along the — unorthodox and entertaining — way.

The film features a fresh cast led by enigmatic Liane Balaban and the spirited Tara Spencer-Nairn, with humorous appearances by Canadian TV stars Mary Walsh and Nicholas Campbell as Mooney’s overprotective parents. Although it's one more story about an adolescent outsider, with Balaban's charm and some witty dialogue, New Waterford Girl manages to feel original.

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