The Runaways

Dakota Fanning stars in this musical biopic as Cherie Currie, lead singer of the 1970s all-girl rock group the Runaways, whose meteoric rise up the charts was saturated with drugs and other excesses of the era. Though The Runaways start out as a novelty act, the rock ‘n’ roll chops of Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton) and the other girls lift the group to international stardom. Floria Sigismondi directs.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason. The Runaways were a perfect example — a group of not-so-talented kids who are put together to form a marketable band, have most of their songs written for them, and self-destruct when handed the keys to the kingdom over vanity, egos and credit.

This film is seen through the eyes of guitarist Joan Jett, played very well by Stewart, and Cherie Currey, played nicely by Fanning. These are two solid young actresses and the film would not have had the chemistry it did if it weren’t for these two. You learn nothing about the other members of the band, like Lita Ford who went on to have a successful career through the 80s. The soundtrack is fun and director Floria Sigismondi, who has directed music videos for David Bowie and Cheryl Crow, brings a real grit and angst to the film.

The only problem I have with this film, like many biopics, is it takes itself too seriously.I understand that in rock ‘n’ roll history, they are the first all-girl rock band. But this was not a rock band that happened organically, rose through the ranks of rock history cranking out legendary hits and influencing generations of musicians. This was a band put together by a producer, hand selecting cute, teenage girls to sell records. Yea, they partied, got too into drugs, experimented with sex and had arguments over vanity and the singer getting too much credit. But what rock band didn’t have those problems?

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4 responses to “The Runaways

  1. Totally agree.I can’t remember who said it, but the question is still pertinent: is a biopic still interesting if the people in it weren’t famous? I gave this the exact same 6/10 as you, because I’m not convinced that it was.

  2. I enjoyed the movie, but yeah, it wasn’t all it could have been. To my mind the best rock biopic is still Velvet Goldmine, and it’s not even technically a biopic, it’s a thinly-veiled love letter to Iggy Pop and David Bowie. But it went all in, which is what this movie didn’t quite do — so I think serious can work, but you’ve gotta be 100% sure where you’re going.

  3. I thought the whole thing looked cheap. I like Velvet Goldmine, 24 Hour Party People, and The Doors is a blast even though it is historically inaccurate. There was just something that I can’t quite put my finger on, it didn’t seem like a real effort was made.

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