The Runaways is a 2010 biography film distributed by Apparition. It stars Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon, Stella Maeve, and Scout Taylor-Compton. The writers are Floria Sagismondi and Cherie Currie. The director is Floria Sagismondi.
The movie opens with Cherie Currie having her period while she is with her sister Marie. Later, we see Cherie lip-syncing to David Bowie at the school talent show as the audience heaves paper balls at her. She responds by flipping them off. Another girl, Joan Jett, plays the electric guitar. One night outside a club, she spots music producer Kim Fowley. Joan approaches him about starting an all-girl band. Fowley is interested and introduces Joan to drummer Sandy West. The producer suggests they find a hot blonde to join the band, so they spot Cherie. She accepts the invitation to tryout. After being disappointed by the song Cherie used, Fowley kicks her out. But Joan and Fowley come up with a song for her to sing and she ends up joining the band. After their first gig, they are signed to Mercury Records. Upon the release of their first album, the band is a huge success. But Cherie gets into drugs and does a racy photoshoot that she thought was to promote the whole band. But the other bandmembers had no knowledge of it and it is quickly discovered that it was all Fowley’s idea for publicity.
I was surprised when I discovered that the film did not portray any of the other members besides Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. The movie itself was based on a book by Cherie Currie. The story did not say very much about members Lita Ford and Sandy West. West was, more or less, just the drummer with no past, according to the storyline. We know even less about how Lita Ford joined the band. Her first appearance in the film, unless I missed something, was at Cherie Currie’s tryout in the trailer. We do no hear how she joined the band. I can understand that Sandy West was probably a character whose past was irrelevent, but Lita Ford clearly has some issues in the story which are not explained at all. She takes an immediate dislike towards Cherie and is the one who finds out about the provocative photoshoot. There is, clearly, some animosity between the two which the storyline never really focuses on. Perhaps, the filmwriters could have expanded the story and not relied almost solely on the book, which appears to be the case.
However, the writers did an excellent job portraying the life of a rock band and the pressures of becoming famous. As a rock band, members don’t have the luxury of much time off. They are on the road for months on end and hardly ever see their families, which begins to take a toll on Cherie. Plus, there’s a public image to maintain and one mistake could cost the band big time, like the Cherie Currie’s photoshoot, which appeared to trigger the beginning of the end for her and The Runaways.
To wrap, despite only focusing on a couple members of the band, The Runaways is actually a pretty strong film and I do highly recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of The Runaways in real life!