Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Runaways

It only took about 15 minutes of film time for my internal voice to start screaming, "Oh, my God! Who let these kids DO this?!"

The Runaways is based on the autobiography of the group's lead singer, Cherie Currie, who wrote about joining a rock group comprised of all girls in the mid-70's. Teen girls - all the girls were 16 or younger when they first recorded. They actually produced some good music, and a future rock star: Joan Jett. But they had to play sleazy clubs to get there.

The movie is an absolutely brilliant, sometimes raw chronicle of Cherie's and Joan's trip in the band. From uncaring parents to a manager who was hell-bent on success and not on his prodigies' well-being, these kids were set up to crave success, perform and not look at the future too urgently. Meteoric success, followed by crash and burn, especially for Cherie, was actually their future.

The acting is superb, particularly Dakota Fanning as Cherie and Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett. Every reaction is recorded on those faces; you certainly understand their choices in reaction to what's happening to them. Excellent editing helps tell the tale of the band's success, particularly in Japan, where they discover, much to their surprise, that they're demi-gods.

The Runaways is hard to watch but fascinating. The success of the all-girl rock band paved the way for many more.

Thumb's up.


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