Moony Poddy (Liane Balaban) lives in a repulsive stark treeless coastal mining town in Nova Scotia of the 1970s.
She's eccentric, if not a little crazy, but what adolescent isn't. She's a creative & exquisit beauty, trying her best not to become one with the trite, ugly, angry, seedy, trashy world around her.
This New Waterford Girl (1999) befriends an outcast, Lou Benzoa (Tara Spencer-Nairn), an outsider in the town. Tomboy Lou's a bright girl secretly relocated with her mom & little brother from the Bronx to escape a violent father.
Lou soon overcomes a lot of her outsider status when the local girls realize she packs a mean punch. Girls start "hiring" her to punch their unfaithful boyfriends.
Moony dreams of Lou's New York City, but doesn't have the nerve to set out on her own. She's only fifteen after all.
When she wins an art scholarship, with help of a teacher who is repugnantly, inappropriately in love with her, she realizes she might after all get out of this place before it destroys her.
Alas, her family won't let her go, as they feel she's either too young or too nutty to be off somewhere on her own.
So she concocts a silly plan involving pretense of pregnancy so she'll be sent away to have the baby elsewhere, which is what ashamed families did in Moony's Catholic town & time.
The family, believing in her faked pregnancy, are ready to send her away. Moony is aware she has upset them a lot & it's cruel to their emotions. But they're the ones who made up foolish rules that good girls can't go away to a special art school but bad girls can go away with all expenses paid.
The boys figure out none of them did Moony & they've just about decided to tell she's faking it -- unless she agrees to do something for them.
By the end, Moony's beginning to see some beauty in her bleak town after all. Can she really leave for art school? Can she bare to be apart from her family? Though New Waterford Girl strikes a very minor note, it's great to see such complex & interesting female characters, & it's a rewarding little film.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl