Monday, April 12, 2010

My 'The Runaways' Review

I was lucky enough to see 'The Runaways' twice this weekend. Amber suggested I blog all about my 'The Runaways' viewing experience, especially because so many of you guys were unable to see it due to the limited release. I am nervous about putting my opinion out there but here we go,please be gentle with me, there are some small spoilers so....
Visually the movie is gorgeous, you can definitely see Floria Sigismondi's music video directing experience (she has directed videos for Marilyn Manson,David Bowie, Bjork,The Cure and The White Stripes) influencing many of the scenes. The performances themselves are so good, Stella Maeve who played Sandy West particularly impressed me with her drumming skills and Kristen looks like she was born with a guitar in hand and leather on her back. The costumes and 'period' details are just gorgeous as well. True fact in one scene Dakota plays a Peggy Lee record on a record player exactly the same as the one that my parents used to have and that I remember playing vinyl on. I am totally aging myself now..moving on. There are three performances I want to comment on:

Dakota Fanning - Dakota shines in the movie she really does. It is hard to believe that she is the same doe eyed little girl that charmed us eleven (eek!) years ago in 'I am Sam'. She struts across stages in tribute to David Bowie, grinds in a corset and pops pills and sniffs lines like nobodies business. Her performance scenes were excellent, you definitely didn't think you were watching Dakota Fanning. However despite this I still felt like there was a slight trepidation in her performance, almost like she is still a little nervous of playing the part with absolute and total abandon. I think with age she will become more at ease with giving herself totally on screen. She will shock a lot of people with her performance and career wise I think it was an excellent part for her to take as she is transitioning to older roles. I for one cannot wait to see what she does next and to see that growth.

Michael Shannon - Michael is phenomenal as Kim Fowley, the eccentric, egotistical and manipulative Svengali of the band. Both times I saw the movie he drew the most laughs from the audience and he blithely rides through the movie stealing the scenes. Between making the girls perform in a run down trailer whilst trash is fired at them as practice for rowdy crowds or simply riling Cherie up by telling her that her twin is prettier he is just so over the top. So 70's glam rock, I loved his performance.

Kristen Stewart - Full disclosure if Kristen wore a paper bag on her head and paced a room I would still pay to see it in a theater. Aside from that she was a revelation once again to me in this movie. I left the theater both times wishing I could have seen more of her on the screen as well as wanting to be in a band, wear leather pants and have grown up in 1970's LA. Her Joan Jett was so understated but strong, easily holding her own against Shannon in many of the scenes where he could have stolen it straight from under her. Kristen will shock so many in this movie [Spoiler alert] the kiss that Dakota and Kristen share is honestly one of the hottest I have seen on screen in a long time. However as they both mentioned in several interviews for the movie it really was just a small event in a series of chaotic ones in The Runaways existence. It is hard to believe watching this movie that it is her and not a young Joan Jett on the screen. Honestly her performance blew me away.

Kristen has been growing her body of work steadily over the past few years with some high quality, character driven pieces. If you have not seen her other work aside from the Twilight saga I suggest you watch 'Speak', 'The Cake Eaters' and 'Adventureland' to name just three of her standout performances. 'The Runaways' definitely ranks up there for me as one of her defining roles. I am very excited to see her next offerings 'Welcome to the Riley's' and 'The Yellow Hankerchief', if and when they come to Houston.

It is disappointing but likely that many will consider not seeing this movie simply because 'that girl from Twilight' is in it, she is so much more than that.I will be recommending to all I know, in fact my friend who accompanied me Friday night informed me that she 'hated Dakota Fanning' as we left the theater I asked what she thought of her now and she was singing her praises! I hope the movie is able to open in more theaters so many other fans can see it. Even in Houston it only opened in three, for the fourth largest city in the US that is pretty poor. On a positive note however every showing i went to was fairly busy (a lot busier than when I went to see 'Remember Me') with a very eclectic crowd. There were young(ish) girls and guys like me and lots of older couples and women/men. It was really good to see. Hopefully the momentum can keep building and more of you will get this movie in your town soon! If you do I HIGHLY recommend that you see it.


Trixie and Tess said...

It is finally playing at one of our local theaters! Can't wait to see your review!

Trixie and Tess

Anonymous said...

Some of your readers may find my recent radio show, Tribute To The Runaways, an interesting listen. It explores the band's music, solo music and bands that have benefited from their groundbreaking work. It can be streamed for free at

eimear said...

Thanks so much for commenting :) I loved the movie so much I am sure you will too. It looks like this weekend it will be expanding to more theaters as well :)