New Waterford Girl [1999]

Filmed on location in damp, windswept Nova Scotia and set in the 1970s, New Waterford Girl centers around the attempts of Moonie (newcomer Liane Balaban) to flee the constraints of small-town life. The lanky lass would like to be an artist and is encouraged by her teacher, Sweeney (Andrew McCarthy), to apply for a scholarship that will take her out of Cape Breton. In the meantime, she befriends Lou (Tara Spencer-Nairn), the tough girl next door, who helps her to devise an alternate plan. As in his previous features, Times Square and Pump Up the Volume, director Allen Moyle is interested in pop culture and teens who don't quite fit in. Despite the presence of better-known actors like Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull) and Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall), this is Balaban's film and she carries it with an awkward, yet endearing grace. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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