The Runaways review (DVD)

It's quite easy to argue that without The Runaways there wouldn't have been the Spice Girls. They have a lot to answer for. The Runaways were the first big girl group – they appeared in the mid-1970s, had one UK hit and disappeared again. In the US, they were a bit more prolific, but really the band is probably best known for launching the career of Joan Jett (she of I Love Rock 'n' Roll fame).

This film documents the band's rise to fame and subsequent fall from grace. It's executive produced by Jett but strangely is told from bandmate Cherie Currie's point of view (it's based on her book). It stars Stewart (yes, Bella) as Jett and Fanning as Currie plus Shannon as the band's svengali, Kim Fowley.

Fanning is the standout as the 16-year-old Currie (the band's frontwoman) dealing with family issues, being thrust into the spotlight and her downward spiral into a drug induced haze.  Stewart does manage to break away from Bella, but not from her off-screen sulky persona. For me, she's just not rock'n'roll enough; she feels very one note a lot of the time. It's nice to see a film where two young women get to play the leads, but it's pretty formulaic, doesn't really say anything new and it's easy to see where the script's going.

EXTRAS ★★ An audio commentary with Joan Jett, and stars Fanning and Stewart; a makling of featurette, Plugged In (14:58); and the theatrical trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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