The Runaways

DRAMA; 1hr 46min

STARRING: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon

Runaway success: from left, Stewart and Fanning

In 1975, Suzi Quatro and David Bowie are a big deal, and guitarist Joan Jett (Stewart) and 16-year-old “jailbait” singer Cherie Currie (Fanning) are California valley girls brought together by a chance meeting with fruitcake record producer Kim Fowley (Shannon). Under his flaunty auspices, Joan and Cherie become cool girl rockers the Runaways; Scout Taylor Compton, Stella Maeve and Alia Shawcat play the other band members. They take their radical act and turbulent partnership on the road, grabbing a massive fan base and a record deal, with Cherie’s trajectory an as-per swirl of sex and drugs before her flameout three years later. 


Based on Currie’s 1989 memoir, Neon Angel, and directed by Floria Sigismondi, The Runaways as a whole is a hazy, messy viewing experience, as though the entire crew were still living it. It’s worth noting for Stewart, who has made another great, instinctual, post-Twilight choice, and for Fanning, who at 16 knows the stardom ropes as well as anyone. Her Cherie is more sorrowful waif than sex kitty or tragic brat — although that’s where the whirlwind of fame washed her up.