PLEASE NOTE: “As an Amazon Associate, [Need Coffee] earns from qualifying purchases." You know we make money from Amazon links,
and I know you know this, but they make us say it anyway. More info, click here.

New Waterford Girl (1999) – DVD Review

New Waterford Girl DVD cover art


Written by: Allan Moyle
Directed by: Tricia Fish
Starring: Liane Balban, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Andrew McCarthy, Cathy Moriarty


  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Filmographies of cast and director
  • “Behind the Scenes” Featurette

Released by: Wellspring
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: No

My Advice: Borrow it.

Opposites attract. It’s a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have some truth to it. Take the two main characters of New Waterford Girl, for instance. Mooney (Balban) is a 15-year-old sullen girl whose dreams and artistic talent are too large for her provincial small town of New Waterford, Nova Scotia. She tries to hitchhike with a sign that says “Mexico”…but she seems doomed to remain with her large Catholic family and the townsfolk who only seem to care about hockey scores and which girl has gotten knocked up. Even when her English teacher (McCarthy) gets her a scholarship to an arts school, her parents cannot conceive of letting their daughter go to the States. (Considering the school Mooney wants to go to is in New York during the 70’s, her parents may have valid concerns.) In the midst of her depression, Lou (Spencer-Nairn) enters the picture.

New Waterford Girl screen capture 1

Lou and her mom (Moriarty) have left Brooklyn “until the stink goes away” and have moved in next door to Mooney’s family. Lou is self-assured, comfortable being physical (she takes up a sideline of punching out two-timing boyfriends), and actually likes New Waterford. Being opposite in almost every way, they become best friends in accordance to narrative causality. With Lou’s help, Mooney hatches a devious plot to leave town the only way girls her age can, by convincing the town she’s become a loose woman and has gotten pregnant. This causes confusion and anger from her parents and just confusion from the boys in the town trying to figure out whom Mooney actually slept with. And of course, she only discovers the true beauty of her hometown when she’s about to leave it.

I wasn’t impressed with the film. When you have a movie that’s going over the very familiar territory of ‘coming-of-age in small town’, you need strong characters and pacing to keep your audiences’ interest. What we get are stereotypical characters: the put upon young artist, the cocky confident out-of-towner, the cynical but inspirational teacher, the overly protective parents, and the dumb, but sweet admirer. The two lead actresses have good chemistry, but there’s not enough for them to work with. The movie meanders from scene to scene without focus or energy. An example of this lack of focus is the time period. The movie is set in the 70’s, but Mooney and Lou could have come from the New Millennium. The only major concession to the decade was putting the cast in a lot of polyester. I think the only reason they had it in the 70’s was to maintain the central plot device of Mooney getting sent to a home for unwed mothers to escape New Waterford. There are a few funny scenes (the family having a wedding reception and a wake at the same time; Lou’s mom’s disgust of making a baloney sandwich with white bread; Mooney’s sisters giving her advice on how far to go with a boy), but they’re not enough to make an impression.

Along with the ubiquitous movie trailer, the two main features are the filmography and a featurette with the cast and crew talking about the movie and the characters in it. The featurette reveals nothing new and is in essence, a ten minute commercial for the movie–as most featurettes turn out to be. The filmographies were interesting because I discovered that Andrew McCarthy has been in thirty-seven movies. It’s nice to know that this Brat Pack member has been keeping busy. But taken in all, New Waterford Girl just doesn’t get above the radar.

Where to Find Stuff