The Runaways is based on Cherie Currie’s book ‘Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway’ which chronicles her rock star lifestyle whilst being in the band, The Runaways. Currie, herself promotes it as a strong anti-drug warning to teens and others alike. The story chronicles the band’s progress through years 1975-77 where they became the first all girl rock band to in an era where people were listening to the likes of David Bowie, The Doors, The Stooges & The Sex Pistols.
The performances given by the cast are powerful ones as Kristen Stewart tries her best to shake off any kind of typecasting – this role as Joan Jett is as far from the dull, pale faced Bella that she portrays in the ‘Twilight’ franchise as you can get, whilst Dakota Fanning’s portrayal of Cherie Currie is mature, emotive and as dynamic as any actress twice her age could give.
The plot’s a rather simple, yet effective one, a group of five girls form a rock band. They go through what most rock bands go through in the first stages, rehearsing in whatever space they can (a trailer), playing the dingy dives across the city (the difference being, The Runaways were performing in the same dingy dives as the then unknown, ‘The Ramones, Cheap Trick and Tom Petty) whilst trying to become noticed. Their live performances and success were fueled by the misogynistic views of the 70’s that ‘girls don’t play electric guitars’ and rock music should be left to the males of the world.
After a bombardment of bad press and struggles to be taken seriously, the girls are eventually given a chance by Mercury Records who offer them a record deal. The release of debut single ‘Cherry Bomb’ causes controversy in America, because of this the girls start getting noticed by the industry and after being ignored for so long, soon land themselves an overseas tour. It’s whilst being on this tour where they experience their own version of ‘Beatle-mania’. They had it all; success, wealth, a fan base, support and a big tick of the ‘things to do’ list. However, like most high profile rock ‘n’ roll bands, they find that fame and fortune isn’t everything and Cherie (Fanning) soon realises that she doesn’t want the lifestyle anymore and eventually leaves the band to concentrate on her own personal issues. Despite seeing the girls as her family, the band never see each other again and even though ‘The Runaways’ didn’t split, the band were never as big as they were when Cherie fronted them.
Like ‘The Spice Girls’, ‘The Runaways’ still have a huge fan base in Japan and on that note, I shall end this review and go listen to David Bowie demos.
The Runaways is released on August 26th by E1 Entertainment. For more info click here. Or you can check out the trailer below.