(3 out of 4 stars)
This hotwired saga of the prototypical 1970s riot grrrls makes a compelling argument about overlooked talent and under-appreciated influence (Bangles, Bikini Kill, etc.). The movie also, ahem, rocks.
Written and directed by Toronto’s Floria Sigismondi, it reveals how
three chords and an attitude not only made serious jam-kickers out of Runaways frontwomen Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, it also worked wonders on Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart, who play them in the movie.
It’s a shock to see sweet li’l Dakota rocking the mic as the face-painted, corset-clad lead vocalist Currie, and also following her well-documented (if also clichéd) descent into sex, drugs and rock-induced despair. Stewart applies her vampiric moodiness to rhythm guitarist Jett’s tough-girl persona.
Sigismondi bases her screenplay on Currie’s tell-all tome Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story, which inevitably, and regrettably, leads The Runaways into family melodrama about Currie’s drunken dad and jealous twin sister.
Before that, though, it’s a highly entertaining lesson in Rock Godhood 101. Ch-ch-ch-check it out.
Extras include a commentary with Jett, Stewart and Fanning, plus a making-of featurette.