Detailing the ups and downs during the brief success of an all-girl rock band in the 1970s, The Runaways offers a look into the ambition, hardships and volatility of being a female rocker in time when men ruled the stage.
The movie zooms in on the behind-the-scenes drama that both propelled and destroyed the band's short-lived celebrity. Pair lead singer Cherie Currie's (Dakota Fanning) broken home upbringing with Joan Jett's (Kristen Stewart) tough-as-leather demeanor, add three precocious California girls - Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton), Sandy West (Stella Maeve), and Jackie Fox (who did not lend her name to the script, but who Alia Shawkat's character is based on) - and sprinkle it with a dose of overbearing crazy from their over-the-top manager, Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon) and what do we get? A pack of eager, under-aged, parentless vixens out to devour fame, experiment with drugs and alcohol, blur the lines of sexuality, and bask in warmth of their rise to the top. And for a while, the girls succeed in their dream of being the first alleged all-girl rock band - garnering press, fans, and record deals and following in the footsteps of their idols. But excess and greed prove to be the accelerants for their cherry bomb as fighting, drug abuse, and exploitive tactics from their manager eventually result in The Runaways' fall from rock and roll grace. Based on the book by Currie, the movie (produced by Jett and directed by Floria Sigismondi) is a history-rich, fast-paced glimpse into the lives of the women that paved the way for future female rockers.