After a blurred trauma over the summer, Melinda enters high school a selective mute. Struggling with school, friends, and family, she tells the dark tale of her experiences, and why she has chosen not to speak.
Young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly.
In 1975, San Fernando Valley teen Joan Larkin reinvents herself as Joan Jett, a guitarist who wants to form an all-girl punk band. She pitches the idea to a sleazy manager, Kim Fowley, who pairs her with a drummer and then searches for a face: he finds Cherie Currie, at age 15, the perfect jailbait image for his purpose; by luck, she can sing. Two others round out the band, The Runaways. Fowley books a tour, signs them to Mercury Records, and packs them off to crowds in Japan. Seeds of conflict sprout early: Fowley puts Cherie front and center in the publicity, she's soon strung out on drugs and vodka, and jealousies arise. Without adult supervision, where can Joan and Cherie end up?Written by
Truth may often be stranger than fiction, but that doesn't mean it makes an interesting film, and this is a classic case in point. Having hit the music scene at the very end of the 70's and been immediately hooked by Siouxsie & The Banshees and their contemporaries, I was vaguely aware of Joan Jett, but not much more than that. Despite what I thought was an excellent central performance by Kristen Stewart, I didn't come out of the cinema after this film feeling that I'd learnt a whole lot more about Joan Jett, or her place in history. There was no doubt that The Runaways gave tradition a good kick in the teeth, and hacked a fearsome swathe through a stale, male-dominated industry – but the sense of how difficult and cutting edge it must have been to form an all-girl teenage band at that time felt underplayed.
Instead, we are treated to a formulaic and generic sex'n'drugs'rock'n'roll story that applies to so many bands, concentrating on the interplay between the 2 leads and their producer/manager, egos over-inflated by sudden success and nihilistic burn-out. Whilst The Runaways may have been one of the first to go through this process in real life, in terms of rock biopics, they're very late to the party, and it just felt like a clichéd resume offering nothing that we hadn't already seen before in other, better genre movies – for example, both 'Breaking Glass' and the outstanding 'Almost Famous' are more accomplished, satisfying and engaging pieces of film-making, albeit largely works of fiction.
So, a standard, angry rebel rock bio-pick that is well-made and thumps along nicely, but what it offered in authenticity (apart from the rubbish plastic dogshit) it lacked in originality. 6.5/10
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