Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon, Stella Maeve, Scout Taylor-Compton, Alia Shawkat
A coming-of-age biopic about ’70s teenage band The Runaways.
I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten into it here, but I’ve never made my distaste for Kristin Stewart a secret. Not counting child acting, I’ve previously only seen her in one film not in the Twilight franchise, and in it she annoyed me nearly as much as she does as Bella. I assumed, not unreasonably, that rather than actually act, she’d prefer to blink and twitch her way through scenes. Apparently I was very wrong, and The Runaways is proof.
When I heard that Stewart had been cast as young Joan Jett, I despaired. I was very afraid that Stewart would turn Jett into a joke, but I didn’t take into consideration that the result could be the opposite: Joan Jett turned Kristin Stewart into awesome, and she carries this film with aplomb. Dakota Fanning gives a really solid turn as ingenue-turned-addict Cherie Currie, but it’s Stewart who is really the star.
The real triumph here, though, is the film itself, a raucous, raw injection of girl power that still manages to feel as real as the events that inspired it. None of the Runaways are turned into cliches—They are, ultimately, teenagers struggling with the rock n’ roll lifestyle, caught between adult responsibility and still being children. This is coming of age at its most powerful, showing not only what real girls can accomplish, but that life is never so simple as it seems when you’re 16. All of this it does while remaining genuinely engrossing and entertaining, the end product a truly honest and worthy portrayal of some of the most bad-ass chicks rock has ever seen.