If the purpose of The Runaways was to re-introduce the world to The Runaways and pique the interest of those unfamiliar with this all-girl rock band’s stint – and it’s lead (Joan Jett)’s subsequent success – in rock and roll, it certainly accomplished that.
The movie tells the story of Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning)’s five-girl band The Runaways, young women trying to break the male-centric mold of music groups during the 1970s.
The movie starts out with its own, memorable brand of gritty honesty about the pre-Runaways lives of Cherie Currie and Joan Jett and keeps going in much the same fashion throughout the film. Little is lost in the way of reality when it comes to how these young women were situated. Some of the story’s moments were not glamorous or sexy or overly dramatic, but they seemed authentic, and this can be a rarity.
The film looks an awful lot like the videos one might find on YouTube of the band’s live performances. Director Floria Sigismondi clearly intended the colors, patterns, and camera angles to replicate the feel that coverage of The Runaways gives off – whether it be the band’s performance of “Cherry Bomb” in Japan or Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “Crimson and Clover” video.
The film’s acting received particular praise during its premiere at Sundance and in some theaters. After finally getting to watch the movie, I can see why.
First of all, Kristen Stewart does a beautiful job of bringing to life a teenage Joan Jett. She seemed fearless and determined, just like a Joan Jett of that age must’ve been. Dakota Fanning, too, delivered well on bringing forth the arcs that Cherie Currie endured during this point in her life. Other castmembers like Michael Shannon, Stella Maeve, and Scout Taylor-Compton were definitely able to capitalize on their screentime and present memorable moments and intrigue into their characters’ stories. However, given that the focus of the story upon Joan and Cherie, it was Stewart and Fanning whose performances were most pivotal . . . and satisfying.
The Runaways was not a band I particularly knew of or became intrigued by before, but after seeing the movie, I found myself scouring the internet for performance videos, information on the bandmates’ subsequent history, and more, and since the obvious intention of the film was to showcase this moment in music history, it was a win.
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