The Runaways - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Runaways Reviews

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½ September 10, 2016
What starts as a seemingly normal rock n roll biopic about the all female rock band the runaways, the final act really lets the whole film down. We see the band members form and get a record deal and tour. Eventually the rock n roll lifestyle takes a toll and eventually splits the band up. Some fairly good performances and acting that is subsequently let down by the choppy story and lack of character development. The film tends to jump to certain parts of the bands history far too quick without much explanation. A film with promise that is unfortunately let down by the second half.
½ June 7, 2016
The Runaways should mildly satisfy casual fans of the band or rock and roll movies in general. The wonderful Michael Shannon shines as whacked out band manager/producer Kim Fowley, but writer/director Floria Sigismondi is not able to coax equally compelling performances from the remaining cast. Five teenage girls from Southern California forming a pioneering hard rock band provides more fertile ground to draw from than most biopics, but The Runaways never shakes loose the usual constraints of the format. I imagine Joan Jett, Cheri Currie, Lita Ford, and bandmates have a more interesting real-life story to tell than what this film showed.
May 18, 2016
Few rock songs of the 1970s have aged as terrifically as The Runaways's explosive "Cherry Bomb." A centerpiece for movie soundtracks aplenty (it's memorably adorned scenes of "Dazed and Confused" and "Guardians of the Galaxy") and an almost undoubtable pick amongst decade defining "best-of" lists, it's a slinky anthem of empowering defiance irresistible to most who come across it. With its ominous guitar struts and lip-smacking confidence within its vocal delivery, it sounds like the work of rock veterans akin to Heart.
So pretend you aren't aware that The Runaways were a rock 'n' roll group comprised solely of teenage girls and it might once again seem as shocking as it might have when you first stumbled upon them. Because lead singer Cherie Currie sounded more like a hardened street tough in her thirties than she did the sixteen-year-old she was when the group's first album was released. Because rock legend Joan Jett and '80s fad Lita Ford were a part of the band and were (and still are) not women one can picture as self-conscious adolescents. The authoritative, indelibly rebellious sounds of The Runaways are able to cause any given listener to forget that backstage hardship was as much a part of the equation as deadly tunes were.
Skim through Wikipedia and you'll get a better idea of their rise and fall than you will with this 2010 biopic. But as "The Runaways" contains exceptional performances from Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart (as Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, respectively), I'm hesitant to write it off as the theatrically released TV-movie-of-the-week that it is. It's skin deep, uninterested in detail, and pretends that Currie was the only person in the group that went through a hell of a lot of shit during her time as a member (not a surprise - the film is based on her memoir). One doesn't necessarily expect a two-hour movie to have the analytic eyes of a miniseries - it comes with the territory - but the film is so glossy that it'd perhaps float away if its characterizations weren't so damn good.
It doesn't have much to work with. Written and directed by Floria Sigismondi, best known for her outstanding projects in the music video industry, "The Runaways" is about as compelled to paint its characters as real people as Quentin Tarantino is in making a movie devoid of obscure references. It deals with the band's darkest moments - including their drug abuses and their damaging relationship with erratic producer Kim Fowley (played brilliantly by Michael Shannon) - with the believability of an unauthorized biography. It knows the facts and portrays them to the best of their ability, but the results still ring with dreaded biopic phoniness that only renders everything as increasingly ersatz.
It begins in 1975, and reminds us that The Runaways's success was almost a fluke. Jett, an aspiring guitarist at the time, met Fowley by chance at a bar one night, expressing interest in recording. He gave her his number and hooked her up with Sandy West (Stella Maeve), a drummer. Knowing of the girls' talent but unsure of their appeal, he briefly looked for a lead singer to set things aflame until he randomly found Currie, who had the right jail bait appearance. He morphed them into the rock group that he wanted them to be. Within less than a year, they became rock stars (in Japan, at least), until Currie's battle with alcohol and drugs destroyed any chances of longevity.
But the film is paint-by-the-numbers in its depiction of these events. It's about as humanistic, as revelatory, as a VH1 special with all the juiciest components squeezed out. It mostly has to do with how undeveloped most of its figures are. As it puts a spotlight on Currie, shines a naked bulb in the face of Jett, and keeps the rest of the band's members in pits of darkness until the occasion to deliver a line arises, there's a definite bias and a definite feeling of romanticism. Nuances are hard to find; the film plays out as if it were checking off seminal events on a timeline rather than finding the emotional essences of them.
So the artificiality of it all is disappointing. With magnificent performances from Stewart, Fanning, and Shannon, it's only incendiary when we're distracted from the fact that everything, except the portrayals, is parched of authenticity. It has fascinating biographical knowledge to work with - it should be a true melodrama of staggering pomp. But "The Runaways" is only serviceable, never taking risks for a band that was nothing but risky. Sigismondi is a talented filmmaker. Shorter forms, though, are better suited for her. Where's Todd Haynes when you need him?
March 16, 2016
I think rock and roll biopics have a special place in my heart.
½ February 26, 2016
The Runaways is far from being the most innovative or genre changing biopic out there, but it's a compelling story full of good performances nonetheless. The story of the rise and eventual downfall of the all-girl rock band The Runaways, led by Cherie Currie and Joan Jett (played by Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart, respectively), is a typical "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" story, but it never ceases to keep your attention. However, for a film titled "The Runaways," the rest of the band is placed aside in favor of focusing on the stories of Currie and Jett, as well as the relationship between Cherie and her twin sister Marie (played by Riley Keough). Some more development of the rest of the bandmates would be nice, but the development of the aforementioned character relationships makes up for it. The acting from the three leads is consistently good. Dakota Fanning steps into one of her more adult roles, and absolutely nails the facets her character requires. Kristen Stewart makes for a compelling Joan Jett, and often disappears into a role that she seems very comfortable in. Perhaps the biggest standout, however, is Michael Shannon as the flamboyant, constantly makeup-laden manager of the group. Shannon proves yet again why he is one of the finest, and most overlooked, talents working today. All of the film's technical aspects, notably the cinematography, production and costume design, and soundtrack, fit the setting and mood of the film well. The Runaways probably isn't the best place to look for a detailed story of the titular band; however, as a 70s rock and roll period piece, the production values and solid acting make the film a commendable one.
February 14, 2016
This film is brilliantly shot, the acting captures an era, and the portrayals by Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart are so exact that it's easy to forget you're not watching the actual people they're portraying. It's one of the best rock movies ever made. Could it be because it's a movie about an all girl rock band starring two women, directed by a woman that some people down play its excellence? No, that couldn't be. Not in 2016. If you like classic rock, male or female, you'll love this movie.
½ December 28, 2015
Sorry, not sorry, no interest.
½ December 28, 2015
The story is stripped down - it hardly examines the thoughts of the band members and barely touches on the music. It almost seemed more of a movie about Kim Fowley than it did The Runaways themselves. Fanning and Stewart are marvelous. Wanted to get to know more of the band. Still, pretty good.
½ September 6, 2015
I'll say this for The Runaways...I finished it. That's reasonably high praise from me these days...
July 26, 2015
So well done. Dakota Fanning did an awesome job and Joan Jett is always so inspirational. They toned down the excesses quite a bit I'm sure to appeal to a larger audience.
May 22, 2015
Was fine, not flash, entertaining in a way, would not go out of the way to see it
½ April 16, 2015
The first two acts are good, but it sort of just meanders off once Cherie quits, and then ends with a shrug. Similarly, the acting from the two leads is strong when they're in the excitement and enthusiasm stage, but once the heavier stuff comes around it gets a little cringey, especially Fanning's performance. The movie communicates the girls' great sense of joyful disbelief at their own success, but falters when that success turns sour. I loved the matter-of-fact depiction of Jett's homosexuality (and female sexuality in general), and I wish Stella Maeve's character had been more prominent because she was awesome.
March 19, 2015
I was so impressed with Kristen's acting and musical skills in this film. Also Dakota was fantastic. One of my favourites.
½ March 15, 2015
107 minutes wasted. Luckily I fast forwarded.
January 22, 2015
Loved because i am such a fan of The Runaways.
was disappointed that Jackie Fox didn't participate and the small amount of Lita, because of her unwillingness to give over her life story for nothing.
½ January 16, 2015
Palomera. La pelicula carece de momentos cumbres o tensionantes y sin eso parece simplemente un documental sugestivo. Dakota excelente en su actuacion y pues Kristen es Kristen "Pokar Face"
January 15, 2015
I recommend watching Victory Tischler-Blue's documentary EDGEPLAY instead.
December 30, 2014
I just find the description funny. Two "friends"
½ October 29, 2014
I can't believe I'm about to say these words: I actually really like Kristen Stewart in this role. I've been very unforgiving towards most of her other roles but she just transforms into Joan Jett and really sells the punk hard-rock image. She should do this more often. The music and most of the other performances are quite good too even if the pacing could have been a bit more even.
September 10, 2014
Chu chu chu chu chu chu... Cherry bomb!
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