The Runaways Reviews

Page 1 of 174
Super Reviewer
½ April 8, 2010
Sex, drugs and rock'n roll get the once over in this nearly Disneyed take on the Runaways. There's "shocking" as two girls in their underwear kiss!!! They trade pills, but not boyfriends. Only the manager, Shannon as Fowley, seems cut from cloth made of something real, so see it for his performance as opportunist manager.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
Kristen Stewart at her best. and Dakota Fanning is amazing as usual.
Super Reviewer
½ March 9, 2011
This wasn't very good. Maybe I'd have been more entertained if I actually cared about the people portrayed in the movie. Then again, if I did, I'd be disappointed because this movie doesn't delve very deep into anything. It's just there. Weak effort. Unless you're a fan of the band, avoid. And if you are a fan of the band, reevaluate your taste in music.
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2011

The opening scene. A drop of menstrual blood hits the pavement. Itīs not necessary much more to understand that itīs a movie about girls. With a sort of disappointment, I already knew what to and what to not expect, an apprehension confirmed right in the next scenes, dialogues between the sisters. Itīs not only a film from a girlīs point of view, but it is also like any other music biography weīve already seen. Something like: turn up the sound and (try to) enjoy it.

The film tells the story of the beginning of the band, its success and fall, but itīs not exactly a film about The Runaways. It focus on Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, letting Lita Ford, Jackie Fox and Sandy West "in the backstage", being West the only one who has more scenes with them. With the exception of Cherie Bomb and I Love Rock NīRoll, we donīt see a daily band routine, the artistic process of writing and arranging songs, what would be more interesting than the pattern "sex, drugs and rock nīroll". Yes, itīs the year of 1975, they are the first all-girl rock band, but all this we already know.

Itīs difficult to conceive that so young girls had so much freedom to do whatever they had in mind when we look to Dakota Fanning, still too "little" girl to convince us that she is the fox we've been waiting for. However, the times are others. If the real Runaways looked like what today would be twenty something, Fanning and Stewart fits perfectly into those seventeen years old.
Cherie Currie was much wilder for sure (what can be perceived in her voice) but Fanning makes a great job. Like Iīve read somewhere , she is making the transition from child actor to a grown up actress in a strong way.

Speaking about looks, if you, like me, didnīt really know The Runaways, but in the other hand knew The L Word, Kristen Stewart will look so much like Shane that will be hard to properly enjoy or take in consideration her portrait of Joan Jett. Too bad! After watching some old videos of The Runaways on youtube, I can say she is very good as Jett. Watching their live in Japan, in 1977, itīs incredible how Scout Taylor-Compto is very alike to Lita Ford.

Clintus M.
Super Reviewer
½ December 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.
Super Reviewer
May 23, 2011
The story never penetrates the surface. We never really get to know Joan and Cherie beyond the obvious sex, drugs, and rock and roll, to say less of the other three in the band. Kristen Stewart's good in her usual sullen way, and Dakota Fanning is okay at times, not great at times, and pretty awesome in the last "Cherry Bomb" performance.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2011
It's quite a spectacle watching Dakota and Kristen do their thing, but yeah, it can get a little dull if you don't actually care about Joan or Cherie, which I didn't.
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2010
I know The Runaways was all... indie or whatever, but despite the paint by numbers plot points and heavily cliched script, a bigger budget really could've helped this movie. Kristen Stewart trades in her play-with-my-hair-and-bite-my-bottom-lip acting style for straight-up skulking as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning did something kind of different, so... yay. The direction kind of annoyed me, especially during the concert scenes that were slightly less ADD than any given music video. The first hour was pretty good but the last act switched gears so abruptly from a plot standpoint with little to no explanation. That's kind of odd considering you expected it to happen. The soundtrack was amazing but Michael Shannon stole the show and The Runaways is worth watching for him alone. Besides that, just so-so...
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2010
The true story of The Runaways is short, tragic, and drug addled, much like the acting. Fanning is a performer, and between the amazing stage scenes as Cherie Currie, there is little to be desired in her act as a taken advantage of youth in the big bad world of rock n' roll. Kristen Stewart on the other hand, makes Joan Jett, already so badass in my mind, resonant. She gets back to her roots from indie films, playing a balls out guitar goddess with an attitude that matches her incessantly awesome idolistic legacy. The rest of the actresses are something of background noise, much like the band was when they were seen in the public eye. Great turn for Michael Shannon as the neurotic,psychotic, gender-bending Kim Fowley. The only I quelm I must address is the adamant use of epithets where they shouldn't be placed by Fanning and Stewart. They don't take hold of the scene and make it their own in these instances.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2011
Dakota Fanning comes of age with a powerhouse performance of many hues which overshadows Stewart. Shannon continues his crusade to find the most extreme oddball characters and push them to the limit. The basic tale is hardly new but is delivered with conviction and verve.
Super Reviewer
½ December 23, 2010
As musical biopics go, The Runaways isn't exactly sensational. If you've heard the tale of one troubled band, scuttled by sex and drugs and in-fighting, Cherie Currie and her little group of miscreants won't have much enlightenment to share. If you're willing to still give the film a shot, though, there are some surprising rewards to be found. As a time capsule, it's insightful and fun and even sort of fashionable for those who are into that sort of thing. You can't help but be absorbed by the atmosphere - the rock and roll lifestyle is portrayed as wild, messy, irresponsible and way too much fun, as it surely was for just about every superband back in those days. There's an oddly small amount of dialogue in the film and much of it is told through montage and music, and its visual diversity keeps the movie feeling fresh. The acting is solid, and Kristen Stewart, despite her obvious limitations, is an excellent fit for the part of Joan Jett. She must be a godsend to casting directors looking for women of both intelligence and frigidity, and her ability to convey detachment is unmatched. Dakota Fanning still has a little growing up to do but she seems to have a relatively strong grasp on what makes her character work - the barely-expressed need to break away from her tedious home life, for one. Michael Shannon is a standout as the completely repulsive, hypocritical Kim Fowley, recalling the very worst of every hipster douchebag you've ever encountered.

If you're not into this genre, The Runaways will not change your mind. Though women in musical films are rarely seen, their band was obviously selected for its very familiar trajectory; there's an interesting plot thread about the sexualization of Currie as a point of dissent within the band, but that's really where the differences end. If you're willing to look past narrative and view it more as a cinematic spectacle, it's much more effective, a very well-crafted film with a considerable eye for visual flair. Floria Sigismondi deserves better, frankly.
Super Reviewer
December 23, 2010
Dakota Fanning is, in the words of Vince Vaughn's character from Swingers, "all growns up." In The Runaways she is sexy, funny, compelling, and lost in a sea of drug-addled discontent. Kristen Stewart has moments when she rages her way into an attention-grabbing moment or two, but overall, the Twilight girl's dead face and eyes once again fail to provide any insight into her character. Michael Shannon is a strong actor normally, but much of his performance here is over-the-top.
This film's weakness is the script. Why tell the story of The Runaways? What is it about this band that should compel our interest? The film can't retreat to the concept that The Runaways was the first all-female band because much of the film is spent convincing these vixens that they should be male or male fantasies. What could be compelling about a female band that made its fame kow-towing to androcentric culture? This criticism is even more poignant when we take into account the fact that our heroes follow the same trajectory as many of their male counterparts, making this the feminine version of an old story.
Overall, though Fanning's performance is quite fun to watch - almost like what it must have been like to first see Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver - the film's storyline and subject needs an angle, something new to add to the conversation.
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2010
Interesting biopic on the titular, all-girl band who rocked to fame in the mid-seventies. That sounds like a plot sketch, but it has something better: atmosphere, attitude, and an uncanny hormonal connection to the dead-end kids imploding at its core.
Primarily focusing on the Joan Jett/Cherie Currie experience, the film gives Kristen Stewart, as Jett, an outlet for her lip gnashing, but it's Twilight cohort Dakota Fanning (as Currie) who's the star; stalking and preening and fragmenting, she's like a teenage Marlene Dietrich in platforms.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ December 9, 2010
This fizzy 1970s glam rock biopic on the teen girl rock group The Runaways is a fairly shallow tale elevated by a handful of strong performances. All but completely ignoring the other members of the famous girl group, the movie focuses on lead singer Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and guitarist Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart). Both actresses slip under the skin of their real-life figures, imbuing the anger, desperation, and sheer nerve of pubescent rock stars being exploited. Watching Stewart's attitude-filled strut, or how Fanning transforms from any other California girl into a slinking rock goddess igniting a Tokyo stage, is downright exciting to behold. But the chief reason to watch this film is Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) as the group's flamboyant, lewd manager who put the girls together. Shannon is his typical bug-eyed sensational self, but the profane tirades he unleashes are downright poetic. He gives the movie a desperately needed pulse, and thus when he leaves the screen he also takes most of our interest. The biggest issue The Runaways has is that writer/director Floria Sigismondi doesn't convince us why any of this matters. We watch the girls get together, play their first gigs, improve musically, and then all of a sudden they're famous thanks to a magazine headline montage. Then they're broken up. You neither feel the rise nor the fall, nor do you ever truly get a good feel for any of the characters. The Runaways spends too much time posing and trying to look fierce when it should have spent more attention on a decent script.

Nate's Grade: C
Super Reviewer
½ August 29, 2010
Very well done. The cast was hard for me to picture but they played their parts well. I still have a hard time seeing Dakota as grown up as she is. I was freaked out the entire movie, thinking, "NO! She's not old enough for that." Really enjoyed it, they did great things with the music, and put together a brilliant film.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2010
This is a conventional but nonetheless very solid and well done film about one of the most important and badass bands of the 1970s. It could have been a little more closer to truth in places, but overall, this is a well told and mostly true (especially in spirit) tale about the first all-girl rock band.

The casting and performances are excellent. It bugs me that Jackie Fox (or any of the other real life bassists) were passed over in front of a generic composite named Robin Robins, but other than that, the casti is spot on. I wish mroe focus would have been put on Lita Ford, but Scout Taylor-Compton still does a really good job given the limitations. Stella aeve is really good as Sandy West, but this movie belongs to Stewart and Fanning through and through. They nail the looks, attitudes, and mannerisms, and (esecially in Stewart's case) you forget that you're watching an actress. Michael Shannon is also superb as the conventional svengali-type mentor who guides (and exploits) the band,

Another thing that gets captured perfectly is the setting at the atmosphere. This fillm nails the clothes, styles, and really brings the 1970s to life. The music is wonderful too. Props for having the girls actually leran and perform the music, and for using my favorite Stooges song ("gimme Danger") during one of the best scenes of the film (when Kim and Joan meet and recruit Cherie).

This isn't without it's faults, but it's still pretty damn solid, and very entertaining. This is definitely worth a watch.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2010
"The Runaways have the most chance of any group I've seen... To do with the Beatles did. To tear this world apart."

A coming-of-age biopic about '70s teenage band The Runaways.

Scattershot biopic about rock and roll female band The Runaways focusing on the lead singer Cherie Currie and guitarist Joan Jett (admittedly I was skeptical when I heard the casting yet Fanning and Stewart, respectively, acquit themselves nicely) during the anything goes '70s with Svengali manager Kim Fowley (Shannon having a field day) as the full-of-himself (and something else) rock enthusiast seeing the future in this 'jail bait' band. While the aforementioned talent do a bang up job inhibiting their intimidating icon roles (especially Stewart with plenty of Body English ?the shoulder-shrumped slouch is dead-on!), the film itself short-changes the other girls (i.e. Lita Ford, hell-o!) and is rather a by-the-numbers-melodrama. Yet the music rocks so that's something that first time director and screenwriter Floria Sigismondi (who adapted Currie's autobiography "Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story") does manage to capture the authentic feel of the era (grainy 16 mm footage helps too!) and the heart of rock and roll in general.
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2010
Not as good as it could have been, but in its superficial and entertaining way it succeeds, largely thanks to the cast and their performances. Dakota Fanning is the standout, giving a raw and mature performance unlike anything I've seen from her before. Kristen Stewart is solid, although this isn't anything outside her range and nothing she hasn't done before. Michael Shannon is very good too in an off the wall wacky performance too. The movie has pacing problems here and there (but especially at the end), but thanks to the music and atmosphere it overcomes it. It's an entertaining look at how The Runaways rose to fame, but it doesn't delve into the characters like a biopic. As long as you don't mind that, it's a good time.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2010
The Runaways tells the age old tale of rock n' roll decadence. The story is all the same and sadly it's true. Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) is struggling to get a band together. Rock n' roll stories always begin with struggle. The dream develops into a band when the final piece, singer Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) joins the band. Enter Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon), a glam rock version of Colonel Tom Parker, pimping out his girl rock band to the world and reaping the benefits. They make it big. Then they collapse. Rock is full of stories like these and The Runaways follows yet another band that dug itself out of the pit of obscurity to stardom only to implode on itself.

As I said with the film Remember Me, it is becoming obvious that the actors in the Twilight films aren't being given much to work with. Kirsten Stewart delivers what is probably her best role to date as Joan Jett, light years away from the vampire garbage she'll be typecast for in later years. The cool thing about The Runaways is that it feels like your looking at pictures from the 1970's as the film progresses. The scenes are lit so that they have that dinginess; that, dare I say, malaise that made the '70's a garbage heap at times. Director Floria Sigismondi delivers a time capsule for us to marvel at, when jail bait was an openly accepted treat and girls weren't supposed to be rockers, they were supposed to screw the rockers. This film is in no way a masterpiece, but it's riveting and delivers yet another story from the rock n' roll graveyard.
Super Reviewer
½ February 9, 2010
Great performances by Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie and Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett. I went into it not know much about The Runaways or their music, other than Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll". It was a great story with awesome music, which turned me into a fan of it. Fun, exciting, and dark...which were played well by both actors.
Page 1 of 174