New Waterford Girl Reviews
"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.
Taking place in Nova Scotia in the 1970s, New Waterford Girl is about Mooney, a 15 year old girl who lives in the dreary small town of New Waterford. She doesn't like her town or her family one bit and desperately wishes to travel far away. After she befriends her new neighbore from New York, the two come up with a plan to leave their small town. Mooney will earn a reputation as the town slut in order to fake a pregnancy so that she can take the train to the next town to an adoption facility. The writer of this movie, Tricia Fish, writes on her own experiance living in New Waterford. The life of the town is comedically plain, everyone is Catholic, and people's expectations of life are not that interesting. This isn't a story fully of stand out, quorky characters of a small town, this is a suttle and natural coming of age story that views small town life, dreams, sex and friendship in a refreshing way.
A lotof this movie's story isn't just told by the characters, it's told by the image and look of the town too. A seaside town where skys are constantly cloudy and dark. This town we're talking about, New Waterford, is REALLY small. So small, uninteresting, religious, and predictable, it'll drive anyone insane. And because it takes in the '70s, it's even less interesting. No one is rich, people stay together, and everyone wears plaid like it was a fashion statement. This movie might look way too indie for most people, but it's inexpecive and simple filming style says a lot about this films mood and plays very well with the story.
Played very naturally, the cast of this movie (like Mary Walch and Mark McKinney) don't make it their job to stand out in any way, but to play along in the conventional setting of the story. Only Liane Balaban (from One Week and Last Chance Harvey) and "Corner Gas"'s own Tara Spencer-Nairn play the oddball characters, and very well by the way. This might not be a new coming of age story, but it's comedy and look is refreshing enough for fans of Canadian indie movies to enjoy.
This movie is pretty good - easy for anyone from a small town to identify with.