The Runaways

Genre: Drama/Biography

Director: Floria Sigismondi

Screenplay: Floria Sigismondi (Based on the memoir by Cherie Currie)

Starring: Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning

Adapted from Cherie Currie’s memoir, this is the story of the mid 70’s all girl rock band, The Runaways. Being the first of its kind, the idea of an all female group was offensive and laughed off, if not dismissed by their rock peers. What made the band even more radical was the fact that they were all barely adults.

Guitar player, Joan Jett, approaches record producer, Kim Fowley, with her plan of starting an all girl rock band. He helps her find a few more girls that can play instruments and thus group is created. There just seems to be one more thing missing for Fowley. The girls need something to give them that edge. Enter Cherie Currie. With her vocals and rocker glam look, The Runaways become a force and create enough of a following to get a record deal, jumping into the world of fame.

Life for a teenager in the mid 70’s had its challenges, whether it was with easily obtainable alcohol and drugs or sexual experimentation. For the The Runaways, these temptations were only magnified with their new found celebrity status, forcing crumbling holes within the band and especially in the young Cherie Currie.

This is a bio-pic, so there isn’t a deep and mysterious storyline. Not everyone may have known the story of The Runaways and their trials as a band, but because at least one person does, the substance that will make this kind of film a success falls directly in the hands of the actors. Their challenge to create something that was real into something believable for the audience cannot be done by just any actor. Bad acting in a film like this will kill it instantly. There is no contest with this picture that the actors, Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart, not only held their own, but were Joan Jett and Cherie Currie.

Dakota Fanning was recognized for her acting skills as a young child, a talent that she has been cultivating with every picture. Her portrayal as Cherie Currie is so convincing that at times, I would forget it was her. What was even more shocking for me was when I did realize it was her, and my internal morals would flare up. I would judge her for playing such a shocking part at her age. I quickly remembered that Cherie Currie was the same age, and this was actually her life. I do not believe that there are any reward nominations hinted at or confirmed for her role in this film, but I would not be surprised if she is honored with a few.

I can only hope that after seeing Kristen Stewart play Joan Jett some of her integrity as an actor will return. She has been criticized for her performances in the Twilight series, and I, myself, have been one of them. The difference between most of her critics and I is that I know she is a very capable actress and will most likely become an outstanding actress of our generation. This is bold, but she has the films to prove her presence. They have just been shadowed by the hype of the Twilight series. Is she deserving of any kind of award nomination for this part? Yes, but I feel as only a supporting part. It would not surprise me if she does or does not get nominated, because even though Joan Jett was showcased in this film, Cherie Currie was the main focus.

It really is an wonderful film that I feel will not disappoint. The film stands out as much as the band it portrays. The acting is moving, if not compelling. Being that it is based on a rock band, the soundtrack does not disappoint, either, using influential music from the era, the band, and Joan Jett’s. A nice little twist to the soundtrack and one that adds to their acting chops is that Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart provide their own vocals, making the film feel more authentic. I feel bold enough to say that even if The Runaways music is not your cup of tea, you will still enjoy the journey that created the rock band.

I give this film 4 Buttery Kernels.

Coming Soon: Accidental Husband