New Waterford Girl

New Waterford Girl is a Canadian drama-comedy film, released in 1999, directed by Allan Moyle, and written by Tricia Fish.[2]

New Waterford Girl
Film poster
Directed byAllan Moyle
Produced byJennifer Kawaja
Julia Sereny
Written byTricia Fish
StarringLiane Balaban
Nicholas Campbell
Tara Spencer-Nairn
Mary Walsh
Music byGeoff Bennett
Longo Hai
Ben Johannesen
CinematographyDerek Rogers
Edited bySusan Maggi
Distributed byOdeon Films
Release date
  • September 12, 1999 (1999-09-12) (TIFF)
  • May 30, 2000 (2000-05-30) (Canada-limited)
Running time
97 minutes
Box office$774,469 (US)[1]

New Waterford Girl stars Liane Balaban as Agnes-Marie "Mooney" Pottie,[2] a teenager in New Waterford, Nova Scotia who dreams of life beyond her small-town home. She is inspired and fascinated when a family from New York City, with an idiosyncratic daughter her own age, Lou Benza (played by Tara Spencer-Nairn) moves into the house next door. Agnes discovers that Lou has a talent for boxing, leading to her taking Lou in as 'muscle' in an attempt to start some changes around their town.

The film's cast also includes Mary Walsh, Nicholas Campbell, Cathy Moriarty, Andrew McCarthy, Mark McKinney, Bette MacDonald, Ashley MacIsaac, Krista MacDonald, Cassie MacDonald, Darren Keay and Patrick Joyce.


Mooney Pottie is a 15-year-old girl sick of her life in small-town New Waterford. She is considered an exceptional student by her depressive, semi-alcoholic English teacher, Cecil who also nurtures an inappropriate crush towards her that is not reciprocated by Mooney. Based on her talent Cecil suggests that she should be allowed to move to New York City in order to cultivate her gift and manages to get her a scholarship at a school there. Her parents refuse to let her go, however.

When a family from New York City moves in next door, Mooney quickly becomes friends with the eldest daughter, Lou. Lou is the daughter of a jailed boxer and though she is small she is able to knock out men when they are lying, something that the town considers something of a religious miracle. Lou develops a side hustle, knocking out the unfaithful men of the town in exchange for money from their wronged girlfriends. Meanwhile, Mooney concocts a plan to leave town. She begins to openly kiss different boys causing her to gain a reputation for being promiscuous.

Not wanting to be left out, many boys claim they have slept with her. Mooney then claims she is pregnant which she knows will cause her religious parents to send her away where she can then escape and run away to Manhattan. However the plan backfires as the boys of the town, not wanting to appear to be the father, all confess that they have never slept with Mooney. Though Mooney orders Lou to punch them out to show they are liars they do not fall down when she hits them showing they are telling the truth.

Nevertheless, Mooney's parents continue to believe she is pregnant only now believing that she lied about her promiscuity in order to cover up the fact that the father is Cecil. Her father goes to Cecil's house where, grasping what is going on, Cecil confesses he is the father and allows Lou to punch him, faking that he has been knocked out. When Mooney tries to confess all to her father, Cecil kisses her. Mooney's mother, arriving in time to see the kiss, gets in the car and rams it several times into Cecil's trailer, pushing it over the edge of the cliff it was located on.

Mooney is packed on a train to spend the rest of her pregnancy in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. At the train station platform after tearfully hugging her parents goodbye she descends from the train and tells her mother she doesn't want to leave. Her mother orders her to get back on the train and hands her a letter. On the train she opens the letter which reveals that her mother knows she is going to New York City and wishes her luck.



At the time of production lead actress Liane Balaban was not an actress. She met producer Julia Sereny at a relative's Seder and was invited to audition for the role.[3]


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