2010: Movie Review: The Runaways


The Runaways movie


Debuts April 9 Everywhere

Written and Directed by Floria Sigismondi

Review by Alisha Amnesia

This new movie, The Runaways has been making the Publicity rounds, with Joan Jett having performed on Leno and Letterman. I was anxiously awaiting its release after reading about it somewhere a long time ago. I joined the Facebook page, and couldn’t wait for it to debut in my city. I didn’t have high expectations of the film after I read some muted review beforehand, but I was really happy with this film.

First of all, the makeup, costuming, and styling were spot on. This really helped make the film believable. I went into this film wanting to like it, as I love and admire Joan Jett, and know that she was involved hands-on with coaching the actress Kristen Stewart, who portrayed her. I have to say, Kristen Stewart did a brilliant job. I don’t think many other actresses today could have pulled it off as well as she did. Not only was she believable as Jett, with her swagger and mannerisms, but her voice and looks also conveyed authenticity. I wonder what Joan Jett thinks? I think Stewart did Joan Jett and her fan base proud.

I was a little skeptical of Dakota Fanning playing Cherie Currie, for obvious reasons. She is adorable, young, and a very impressive young actress… Did I mention young?! (Haha, you get my point.) It’s not that I didn’t think she would be a good as an actress; it’s just that I wondered if she would be able to carry herself with enough tough sex appeal to be believable in the role.

I thought she did a very good job, but my assessment after seeing the film just once, is I think I’d give her 3 out of 4 stars. Although I thoroughly enjoyed her performance and respect her for taking a risky role, in all, I felt I was watching just that… a performance. Where as watching Kristen Stewart made me feel I was almost watching Joan Jett, watching Fanning felt like watching Fanning playing Currie.

These girls also had to do their own singing parts, which made their job as actors a lot harder than it may have been if they had the luxury of lip-syncing. (I’m guessing this was due to some record company licensing BS). That makes the job they both did even more impressive to me. They did a really good job with their musical performances, especially considering the tough shoes they had to fill. (Fanning wasn’t the most amazing singer, but I don’ really think she has to be.)

The actor Michael Shannon, who played the Runaways’ manager, Kim Fowley, gave a brilliant performance from what I know as well. I actually met Fowley in Las Vegas at a weekend garage rock/ rock n roll music festival called the Las Vegas Rockaround sometime between 2002-2005. He approached me and made it known who he was, and why I should know him. He was wearing a garish chartreuse (neon yellow-green) suit, standing out just as he desired. He spent much of the weekend talking to rocker girls (myself, Austin Cool Girl Caroline, and former NYC Cool Girl Kitty Kowalski, among others). The ballsy opportunistic vibe I got from him that weekend was exactly the same vibe I saw conveyed on the screen by Michael Shannon; so as someone who briefly met Fowley, I found that portrayal amusingly accurate.

The film is overall fun to watch, and I really enjoyed the brief ride into what it may have been like to grow up in the 70s as one of the Runaways. I encourage music and movie fans to go see it.

— Alisha Amnesia


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