The Runaways has been marketed as the Joan Jett bio-pic, however that is slightly in-correct. The Runaways is really Cherrie Currie’s story, and she is more the focus than Joan. This was based on Cherrie’s book and it covers The Runaways with her time with them, from the start until her fall and her leaving the band. The Runaways were a jail-bait all girl rock band in the mid 70’s, something no one had ever seen before. Much like with a lot of films of this kind they get famous and then the band has issues. I think what sets this apart from the usual band film is this one is about young girls, and watching it almost feels kind of wrong.
This film belongs to Dakota Fanning as Cherrie Currie, this girl has grown up big time, and it is so weird to see her drink alcohol and do drugs and wear sexy lingerie. I think she was 14/15 whilst filming this, playing a 15/16 year old, and she is mature beyond her years as an actress but in my mind I always picture her as the cute little girl from I Am Sam. She really captures everything with Cherrie, her original almost innocence, to her addictions and demons getting the best of her. The other obvious stand out and main character is Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, great piece of casting right there. She has the right look, and she played all the right notes. She was obviously so clearly comfortable in this role, she could act and show emotions, she was really excellent here. It goes to show what a strong actress she can actually be when she’s comfortable with the role (unlike Twilight where she is just awful). Michael Shannon as Kim Fowley was just awesome, he was perfect, you really wanted to just pound his face in from time to time with the way he treated the band. He chewed up the scenery everytime he was on screen, yet Dakota and Kristen matched him every step of the way. There was a fantastic chemistry between them all, and without that I don’t think it would have worked as well.I have to mention I hated Scout Taylor Compton as Lita Ford, I have no idea if Halloween II has ruined her forever for me but I just wanted to punch her everytime I saw her.
I have to admit I know almost nothing about The Runaways except having heard the songs and not really knowing they were from them. So getting this insight into this band was interesting and also very sad at the same time, because they were so young and going through so much. The pace of the film worked just right, it wasn’t rushed and it wasn’t slowed down, it worked for the story it was telling. It really felt 70’s to me, from the use of colour and the cinematography it really captured 70’s rock. It was spot on, and it felt very authentic. The music of course was fantastic, I loved it. It hit all the right notes as far as that goes, and I did find myself singing from time to time. Floria Sigismondi has made a fantastic debut film, she really understood all the aspects in making this kind of film and tried to do things her way as well.
Overall this was a great film, I enjoyed it quite a lot. As I mentioned some things felt a little on the wrong side, but those things actually happened and they were actually that age too. I thought perhaps we would have gotten more insight into the other band members especially Lita Ford but this was a story about Cherrie and Joan and that is really where they kept it at. A certain scene at the end between the two characters was very moving, and really well done.