Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) dreams of a career as a rock musician. When she meets producer Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon) by chance, she suggests to him an all-girl rock band. Shannon jumps at the idea and helps her find the members for the band. When they stumble upon the 15-year-old Cherie (Dakota Fanning), Fowley knows that he has found the missing ingredient for the success of the band – The Runaways.
I enjoyed the Runaways. It’s not the best movie there ever was, but it has some wonderfully interesting characters, a great soundtrack and good performances.
I have to admit that apart from the biggest Joan Jett hits, I didn’t really know much of the music before seeing the film. But dammit, it’s awesome. I really have to listen to it some more. Since the music is that cool, the rest of the film had a big advantage to win me over.
Though it didn’t necessarily need that advantage – Joan Jett, Cherie Currie and Kim Fowley are colorful characters and pretty much make for interesting watching no matter what. But since they’re very well acted – especially Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon were great – it never comes to “no matter what”. Kristen Stewart will never be the greatest actress of all times, but she did a fine job here.
Floria Sigismondi keeps the pace up and focusses on Joan’s and Cherie’s relationship with each other, which was a good way to go. Apparently she has taken great pains to keep the film faithful to real life (under the supervision of Joan Jett herself). While I can’t confirm or deny her success with that, it certainly feels true.
It also feels to true to form, even though regrettable, that the other band members of the Runaways were a bit ignored. It might have made the movie overly long had it focused more on the others, but I went away from the film not even knowing their names. I think there could have been some middle ground there.
Summarising: If you like (music) biographies, you could do much worse than to watch The Runaways.