The Runaways

The Runaways is a biopic-ish film about the rise and fame of all-girl rock group of the same name. The film’s script is based on Cherie Currie’s memoir, and is produced by Joan Jett. Unsurprisingly, the film mostly focuses on these two women, Currie on the mic and Jett on rhythm guitar. Lots of other ladies came and went – most wanted nothing to do with the movie, and their parts are fictionalized.

Curie (Dakota Fanning) and Jett (Kristen Stewart) were pioneers, therunawaysand came together under the influence of scuzzy manager Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon). Like any respectable rock band of the era, they eventually combusted, but not before releasing four albums in as many years. They never made it huge in North America but had some crazy success in Japan for a while, where their sound and aesthetic were appreciated.

The movie is just okay. The leads are phenomenal, stylish and electric performances from both Stewart and Fanning (and Michael Shannon is stellar, as always). But the “biopic” aspect is less bio,832729701403947af2c28f14dac46933 more pic. It barely scratches the surface. We don’t get to know anyone, and at any rate, Joan Jett’s post-Runaways life and music is where the real meat is. That said, it’s a clichéd ride about sex, drugs, and rock & roll, but it’s one worth watching to see Dakota Fanning get salty and Stewart own the role of rock’s first goddess. But it’s a condensed version featuring some character composites. The only member of the band besides the two front ladies that is touched upon is that of Sandy West, the drummer, but by the end they don’t give a shit about her, forgetting her in the title cards. She’d died before production began. Pesky cancer. The Runaways were revolutionary, a band about self-empowerment, but not all selves are created equally.

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16 thoughts on “The Runaways

  1. ninvoid99

    I do like Michael Shannon, Kristen Stewart, and Dakota Fanning (notably for that gorgeous number to David Bowie’s “Lady Grinning Soul) but the film was very disappointing as it fell too much into the many tropes of the bio-pics and never did anything to establish the other characters like Lita Ford.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I didn’t even think it served the main characters well, but yeah, the background ones were EXTREMELY background, regardless of their place in the band.

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  2. J.

    I quite fancied seeing this and I’m was waiting for the review that says “get over your thing about biopics and get this watched”. Oh well.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Well in its favour, it doesn’t really even pretend to be a biopic. It’s a very narrow look at a somewhat fictionalized version of about half the events and even less of the people.

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