New Waterford Girl (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

New Waterford Girl (2000)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

While imagining the childhood of Andy Warhol, Lou Reed once wrote, "There's only one good thing about a small town: you hate it, and you know you have to leave." A similar notion seems to have occurred to Mooney Pottie (Liane Balaban), a 15-year-old Canadian girl growing up in a village deep in the rugged coal mining area of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Mooney wants to be an artist and feels out of place among the rough-hewn villagers and her unsophisticated family. When her art teacher, Cecil Sweeney (Andrew McCarthy), tells her that he could arrange for her to attend an art institute in Manhattan, her parents refuse to allow her to go. Stranded in a place she hates, Mooney finally discovers a kindred spirit when new girl Lou (Tara Spencer Nairn) moves into the neighborhood. Lou's father was a boxer from Brooklyn, and she's inherited his talent for fisticuffs; Lou has a way with a sucker punch that soon has all the girls in town begging her to knock out their boyfriends when they get out of line. Mooney and Lou soon team up on a plan that will allow them to move on to bigger and better things. Canadian filmmaker Allan Moyle returned home for this comedy set in the mid-1970s, which features a soundtrack of classic Canadian rock, including vintage tracks by April Wine and The Stampeders.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Tricia Fish, Tricia Fish
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 19, 2002
Wellspring Media Inc.

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Liane Balaban
as Agnes Marie `Mooney'...
Andrew McCarthy
as Cecil Sweeney
Mary Walsh
as Cookie Pottie
Nicholas Campbell
as Francis Pottie
Cathy Moriarty
as Midge Benzoa
Sue Dalton
as Sandra
Darren Keay
as Lexter Pottie
Cassie MacDonald
as Darlene Pottie
Krista MacDonald
as Betty-Anne Pottie
Mark McKinney
as Doctor Hogan
Sam White
as Announcer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for New Waterford Girl

Critic Reviews for New Waterford Girl

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | March 22, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 17, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Village Voice
Top Critic

This winning little comedy from Pump Up the Volume director Allan Moyle... is worth seeking on DVD.

Full Review… | October 19, 2007
Combustible Celluloid

The film manages to remain engaging, because even if most of the film is about Mooney just being moody, it certainly looks good on her.

Full Review… | September 9, 2002
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for New Waterford Girl

Standing between their laneways in New Waterford, Nova Scotia, a coal-mining town on Cape Breton, Mooney Pottie (Liane Balaban) gives new-girl-in-town Lou (Tara Spencer Nairn) the grand tour:

"My house; your house. There's the store, the mine, the main drag. Hospital; tavern; church, tavern, church-church-rink-school-trainstation-roadtoSydney."

It's a fitting testament to the dreariness of Mooney's existence, the fourth of five children in a struggling family, but one who displays artistic talent and dreams of leaving, encouraged by her too-young male teacher, (Andrew McCarthy), as the town, like most small towns, and her family threaten to suck her back in.

The movie has a unique Canadian soundtrack and the DIY ethos of a Bruce MacDonald pic, and Balaban in the main role is better than anything I've seen her do since. Gray clouds always loom over these vistas of roaring surf and clotheslines in the cold wind - which is funny in light of the excessivley sunny Newfoundland & Labrador tourism ads all over Canadian TV these days that feature identical shots - and the film seems depressing, for the most part. But somewhere in the middle - no spoilers here! - you find yourself suddenly and strongly rooting for this unconventional character to come into her own, (with help from her new friend). It's a quintessentially Canadian story, and at its core it's not unlike a great many of them, but it's told in a unique way with an ending that's perfect and powerful. A film that takes a bit of time to warm up to as you're watching it, but one that will leave you satisfied. Among the best Canadian flicks I've seen.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


Life is tough for Moonie Pottie in the small town - especially a coal-mining Cape Breton small town. A big city family moves into town, and Moonie and her new friend cause havoc in town.

This movie is pretty good - easy for anyone from a small town to identify with.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

New Waterford Girl is a quirky, largely implausible story about a young girl who dreams of leaving the small town in Nova Scotia where she grew up. Moonie (Liane Balaban), is a dreamer who doesn't quite fit in with the narrow-minded provincialism that living in the town of New Waterford on Cape Breton requires in order to prosper there. Enter Lou (Tara Spencer-Nairn), a girl from New York City, who inspires Moonie to put in motion a plan to get herself out of this backwater, involving a soiled reputation and a vendetta against the ‚guilty‚?. As mentioned, there are some plot devices that defy logic, but the humorous way in which they unfold and the skill of the actors managed to get this viewer to suspend disbelief and just settle in to enjoy the show. The supporting cast was excellent. Cathy Moriarty, as the mom, and Nicholas Campbell, as the dad, were spot on. They exhibited the right combination of loving concern over their youngest daughter and her quirks mixed with a level of distraction that having five children often engenders. This one was fun and managed to exert a draw on the emotions with a cute ending that managed to stay away from becoming maudlin.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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