For those who think the only music featured in movies these days comes from Michael Jackson, the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus, here's a dose of some real rock 'n' roll.

'The Runaways' tells the story of the mid-'70s all-underage-female Southern California rock band featuring Joan Jett and Cherie Currie who broke new ground in the music biz only to burn out before taking their place in the rock pantheon.

The film centers around the toxic relationship between Currie (noted child actor Dakota Fanning), Jett ('Twilight's' Kristen Stewart) and Runaway's manager Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon), who each have a vision of what rock 'n' roll stardom should be. A few memorable songs were recorded, most notably 'Cherry Bomb,' before the group imploded in 1979. Jett, of course, went on to solo stardom and she's an executive producer here. The story is based on Currie's autobiography.

Scout Taylor-Compton plays the band's Lita Ford, who had a few hits of her own after the Runaways, and Stella Maeve is founding member Sandy West. Music video helmer Floria Sigismondi wrote the screenplay and directs.

Reviewers generally applauded the films gritty period realism and the music's unbridled passion. Some bemoaned the lack of character development and lack of overall depth of the story.

The movie opens in limited release Friday and nationally April 9.

Read what the critics say after the jump. For those who think the only music featured in movies these days comes from Michael Jackson, the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus, here's a dose of some real rock 'n' roll.

'The Runaways' tells the story of the mid-'70s all-underage-female Southern California rock band featuring Joan Jett and Cherie Currie who broke new ground in the music biz only to burn out before taking their place in the rock pantheon.

The film centers around the toxic relationship between Currie (noted child actor Dakota Fanning), Jett ('Twilight's' Kristen Stewart) and Runaway's manager Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon), who each have a vision of what rock 'n' roll stardom should be. A few memorable songs were recorded, most notably 'Cherry Bomb,' before the group imploded in 1979. Jett, of course, went on to solo stardom and she's an executive producer here. The story is based on Currie's autobiography.

Scout Taylor-Compton plays the band's Lita Ford, who had a few hits of her own after the Runaways, and Stella Maeve is founding member Sandy West. Music video helmer Floria Sigismondi wrote the screenplay and directs.

Reviewers generally applauded the films gritty period realism and the music's unbridled passion. Some bemoaned the lack of character development and lack of overall depth of the story.

The movie opens in limited release Friday and nationally April 9. Here's what the critics say:

Entertainment Weekly: "When it gets away from the stage, though, and from the iconography of strutting she-devil-in-lingerie empowerment, 'The Runaways' is a glumly episodic rock saga. It stays true to how the band's members were exploited, yet there's a special challenge in bringing this story to life, since the Runaways were really just little girls who fed themselves into a buzz-saw machine of record-industry hype."

Arizona Republic: "What's lacking are surprises or any sort of different take on the traditional rags-to-rock-riches story. The performances help make up for that -- Shannon is an absolute scream (who is often screaming). Even better, the songs hold up particularly well.

Associated Press: "Stewart's Jett is the backbone, the one who really wants it, the one born for the life of a rock star. The movie's high point comes after a period of lonely introspection by Jett as she realizes her dream of the Runaways is fading, and the movie gives way to the sizzling guitar intro of 'I Love Rock N' Roll,' a hit a few years later for her and the Blackhearts."

Chicago Tribune: "Jett, Currie and their bandmates were brought together by music industry demi-player Kim Fowley, and one of the strengths of the picture is its ambiguity regarding this jailbait-obsessed puppetmaster. He's played by Michael Shannon with a twitchy comic intensity. Everything about these lives is intense. The band's story is a show business fable of razor-thin lines, between rock stardom and teen exploitation; between the right amount of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll (Jett figured that one out) and too much (Currie didn't, though she lived to tell about it all in the book 'Neon Angel')."

'The Runaways' trailer


Variety: "This is in contrast to the 2005 feature doc 'Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways,' in which everyone but Jett was involved. The docu dished a lot more dirt than this narrative recap, which both sweetens the band's tumultuous history and makes it a more traditional cautionary tale about the wild side of rock 'n' roll."

Hollywood Reporter: "The film steers pretty clear of the more salacious side to the Runaways' reality. It doesn't linger long on the two teens' sexuality, expressed with both sexes and with each other. Instead, Sigismondi rushes back onstage for another performance or plays Runaways music over the film's many montages."

New York: "As onetime member Victory Tischler-Blue's documentary 'Edgeplay' makes clear, the vibe among the bandmates was never good, and since the music itself is secondary, there's not a lot to this story. The film is all externals."

Roger Ebert: "So this isn't an in-depth biopic, even though it's based on Currie's 1989 autobiography. It's more of a quick overview of the creation, rise and fall of the Runaways, with slim character development, no extended dialogue scenes, and a whole lot of rock 'n' roll."
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