New Waterford Girl

Director: Allan Moyle
Screenwriters: Tricia Fish

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


Director Allan Moyle has a genius for adolescence and a particular eye for the nuances of friendship that can save teenage girls from utter destruction. New Waterford Girl sees him return to form, as well as to his native Canada, as he masters the challenge of Tricia Fish’s quip-a-minute screenplay. He’s got two extraordinary actresses to help: Tara Spencer-Nairn as feisty Lou Benzoa, a transplanted New Yorker with a mean left hook, and Liane Balaban as Mooney Pottie, a backwater original who wants more than her dead-end
Cape Breton town can offer.

This tale was inspired by scripter Fish’s high-school reunion in New Waterford, where she discovered a new breed of girl (hence, the title). It riffs off the old city mouse, country mouse fable: All that Mooney wants is to become a writer and get out of town, while city slicker Lou thinks she’s found the perfect place and yearns to fit in. Are you surprised that they become best friends? Moyle knows how to turn a plot contrivance inside out to expose the emotional underbelly that motivates it.

If they’re guilty, they fall? Lou takes her dad’s boxing maxim to heart, getting in good with dishonored girls by felling sleazy beaus in a one-woman revenge campaign, Mooney, meanwhile, provides the film’s genuine discovery: Newcomer Liane Balaban, age eighteen, has never acted before. She burns up the screen as Mooney. You won’t be able to take your eyes off her.

Screening Details

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