Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Runaways (Review)

    A true story, an indie film, chicks that rock, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  I couldn't wait.  

     "The Runaways" is the true story of one of Rock's first all female bands, The Runaways.  Based on the memoir by former band member Cherie Currie, the film chronicles the rise and fall of The Runaways, focusing on two of its founding members, Joan Jett and Cherie Currie.  The story is one very familiar to Rock, a meteoric rise followed by a drug induced crash back to reality, but it's told in a way that's empowering without preaching and captures the intoxicating excitement of being a rock star. 

     I thoroughly enjoyed "The Runaways."  Kristen Stewart is amazing as Joan Jett and she shows that she can play something more than just twilight style teen angst.  (This was the 70's.  No teen angst.  You just got pissed and rebelled!)  Even more stunning is Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie.  Fanning is absolutely brilliant as she sheds her child star mantel and takes her rightful place in the adult acting world, despite the fact that both she, and her character, are under-aged.  Rounding out the cast is Michael Shannon, who plays the band's promoter and manager, the insanely manic Kim Fowley.  Shannon absolutely nails the self centered narcissism, and possible genius, of Fowley.  Plus there's plenty of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  (Did I mention that already?) 

     Missing from this adaptation are some of the darker aspects of Joan Jett's and Cherie Currie's early lives.  There is no real mention of rape or abuse.  The worst we see is the effects of  the Currie's parent's divorce and Currie's father's crippling alcoholism.  This movie is dark enough without them and would likely be in danger of becoming a made for Lifetime movie if it delved any deeper into Jett and Currie's troubled pasts.  

     "The Runaways" balances the extreme ecstasy of Rock stardom with the harsh realities of fame while telling the bitter, true story of a group of girls who made rock history.  Watch it for the sex and drugs and love it for the rock and roll!

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