The Runaways


The Runaways

Critics Consensus

Viewers expecting an in-depth biopic will be disappointed, but The Runaways is as electric as the band's music, largely thanks to strong performances from Michael Shannon, Dakota Fanning, and Kristen Stewart.



Total Count: 185


Audience Score

User Ratings: 86,157
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Movie Info

The film follows two friends, Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, as they rise from rebellious Southern California kids to rock stars of the now legendary group that paved the way for future generations of girl bands. Joan and Cherie fall under the Svengali-like influence of rock impresario Kim Fowley, played by Michael Shannon, who turns the group into an outrageous success and a family of misfits. With its tough-chick image and raw talent, the band quickly earns a name for itself -- and so do its two leads: Joan is the band's pure rock' n' roll heart, while Cherie, with her Bowie-Bardot looks, is the sex kitten.


Kristen Stewart
as Joan Jett
Dakota Fanning
as Cherie Currie
Michael Shannon
as Kim Fowley
Stella Maeve
as Sandy West
Riley Keough
as Marie Currie
Johnny Lewis
as Scottie
Tatum O'Neal
as Cherie's Mom
Brett Cullen
as Cherie's Dad
Jill Andre
as Aunt Evie
Ray Porter
as Band Member
Kiaya Snow
as Cashier
Allie Grant
as Club Girl
Aaron Parker Mouser
as Fat Employee
Peggy Stewart
as Grandma Oni
Robert Romanus
as Guitar Teacher
Jay Thames
as Headliner's Roadie
Masami Kosaka
as Japanese Journalist
Masayuki Yonezawa
as Japanese Photographer
Hiroshi Sakata
as Japanese Promoter
P.D. Mani
as Cake Shop Manager
Mickey Petralia
as Record Executive
Antonella Sigismondi
as Rockabilly Saleslady
Nick Eversman
as Rocker Boy
Keir O'Donnell
as Rodney Bingenheimer
Lisa Long
as Sandy's Mom
J.R. Nutt
as Skinny Employee
Alejandro Patiño
as Grocery Store Manager
John Konesky
as Studio Engineer
Tim Winters
as Wolfgang
Adam Silver
as Boy in Audience
Koji Wada
as Announcer
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Critic Reviews for The Runaways

All Critics (185) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (128) | Rotten (57)

  • The audience is meant to relate to Jett's indignation-the band's success should hinge on their sound, not their looks-but it feels like a bogus position, since we, in watching the scene on the lawn, have been made complicit in Cherie's objectification.

    Feb 7, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It's not so much a shock to the system as a series of practised strokes, yet -- for moments at a time -- it makes you squirm happily in your seat.

    Sep 15, 2010 | Rating: 3/5
  • Maybe The Runaways is Linson's way of showing that he can make a success of this subject, and I think he has done, with a film which shows how brutal and sexist rock'n'roll is.

    Sep 9, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Exuberant and aggressive but also questionable and ambivalent.

    Sep 9, 2010 | Rating: 3/5
  • The result is an entertaining mess: lively and stylish, but frustratingly inconsequential.

    Sep 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Dakota Fanning's pre-teen innocent appearance contributes greatly to the captivating nature of her metamorphosis into rock diva in The Runaways.

    Aug 8, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Runaways

  • Mar 15, 2013
    I think Dakota Fanning does a fabulous job here as Cherie Currie. Unfortunately, she all but cancelled out by Kristen "I can't really act" Stewart sucking all the cool out of Joan Jett.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2011
    Being a quasi-fan of the Runaways back in their day, I couldn't wait to see this film. Its fairly amusing and thoroughly entertaining; maybe the best aspect is the outstanding performances of the two leads. I'm not sure about the accuracy of every scene in this biopic, but that's unimportant. Director Floria Sigismondi's film captures the essence and spirit of the time. Drug use and experimentation were rampant, and svengali-type producers made new acts stars overnight. Its all clichéd, undeniably. This is an all-too-common story, differentiated only because this is a teen all-girl band. Finally, back then, as now, infighting as to direction and leadership led to a breakup. I was enthralled by both female leads especially Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. She was a (more) feminine David Bowie and focus of the contrived jailbait image. No doubt, Cherry Bomb was written for her! Kristen Stewart was not Bella Swan, thank God, although she still managed to mope somewhat. They're successful in realistically portraying the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle and the central conflict of girls who want to rock vs. jailbait sleaze. Joan Jett would be proud.
    Clintus M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2011
    Bio movies are very tricky. No matter who the movie is based on, the story can either feel sincere and fresh or blandly generic. The Runaways fights with itself in this aspect. The acting was surprisingly well done by Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart. I actually felt they could be friends trapped in the glitz of drugs, money, and rock and roll. However, the story did not dig deep enough for the audience to feel their pain. Because of the lack of depth in the story, the movie feels genuine for the first half hour and then runs through cliches. The cliches are rampant from band fighting, drug addiction, lead singer popularity, and daddy issues. The strength of the movie is when it shows the friendship between the band members and the overall pressure of being young in the music industry. The music was incredible capturing all the hits of the band "The Runaways". Sadly, the movie is missing that special something that would turn an ordinary bio movie into oscar gold.
    Jack M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 22, 2011
    "The Runaways" starts with a drop of blood on the pavement, signifying Cherie's(Dakota Fanning) first period while waiting with her older sister Marie(Riley Keough) for her older scummy boyfriend Derek(Brandon Sexton III). So while Marie supports her sister while she bombs at a school talent show lip-syncing to David Bowie, Joan Jett(Kristen Stewart), nee Larkin, wants to play guitar just like her idols. She gets a chance when she runs into legendary record producer Kim Fowley(Michael Shannon) at a nightclub. He sees the novelty and dollar signs in an all girl band and pairs Joan up with Sandy West(Stella Maeve), a drummer. By the time, Cherie re-enters the picture and auditions for The Runaways, guitarist Lita Ford(Scout Taylor-Compton) and Robin(Alia Shawkat), a bassists, have also joined. But then Cherie's mother(Tatum O'Neal) announces she is moving to Indonesia. "The Runaways" settles the eternal debate once and for all as to whether Michael Shannon has any range in the positive, as he steals scenes with his finest flamboyance. Thankfully, this does not detract anything from the movie's real subjects, The Runaways, although only two of them are given any substantial screen time. And it's not so much their friendship as the contrasts between Joan and Cherie that drive the film. Whereas Joan has always wanted to a rocker(despite loads of sexism, she'll achieve huge success later), Cherie has no idea, simply mimicking others with no clue which way to go with no parents usually around to act as signposts.(Absentee parents are a running theme here. Remember the story starts in 1975, a less paranoid era.) That works well with the movie's breezy, yet senstive, take on teen sexuality which is often exploited by others while the female characters seek to explore it on their own terms and on the fly. Just remember. Rock and roll has always been about sex and attitude anyway.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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