Joan Jett and Cherie Currie are girl punk rock epitomized. The current biopic “The Runaways” follows these two girls as they create the first all girl rock-band in Southern California in the 1970s.
Kristen Stewart plays the androgynous Joan Jett. Although her recent projects include the teen hit “Twilight Saga: New Moon,” she is still a very believable Jett. Stewart possesses Jett’s silent but strong attitude, which helps carry the film.
Dakota Fanning, who plays sexpot Cherie Currie, is slightly less realistic. Fanning can be remembered debuting in “Uptown Girls” opposite Brittany Murphy, as a squeaky clean starlet.In “The Runaways,” Fanning parades around in David Bowie make-up and lingerie.
The film follows how the two met through rock impresario Kim Fowly, portrayed by Michael Shannon. The real rock and roll issues of drugs, sex, family and egos are highly present in the rise and fall of “The Runaways.”
The biopic goes all the way through Jett’s success a solo artist. A lot of the movie is spent in Southern California, showing Currie’s family problems. This includes her alcoholic father and runaway mother.
A good deal of the movie is also dedicated to the depiction of “The Runaways” highly successful tour of Japan, which eventually leads to their demise.
The film stays true to the time period of the 1970s. The costumes show the diverse culture of the era ranging from leather-studded jackets, to sequined tube tops, to baseball tees.
Songs in the film include David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel,” The Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant,” and Don McLean’s “Vincent (Starry Starry Night).”
Viewers should be warned; this is probably not a good choice for a date movie or the fainthearted.
The opening scene is a leg shot of Fanning having her first period. Other scenes include Stewart and Fanning sharing intimate moments and doing lines of cocaine in an airplane bathroom.
Some of the film is not entirely accurate. Original bassist Jackie Fox was left out entirely. Fox did not approve of the film’s creation, so producer Joan Jett, had to remove her story from the film to avoid lawsuit. Instead the film features a character by the name of Robin (Shawkat) to play the band’s bassist.
The story focuses on Currie and Jett, and the rest of the band has relatively small roles. Although these are the two who primarily fronted the band, it would have been nice to see more of a back-story into the other band members.
It was primarily Currie’s ego that the rest of the band retaliated against, and this would have been beneficial to the film.
Overall, the story needs to be taken for what it is: a story about a girl rock band in the 1970s.
“The Runaways” is a highly electric, dramatic movie that is one to see if you are interested in the history of rock and roll.