Critics praise the performances in The Runaways, about Joan Jett's seminal '70s band, but whether the flick succeeds is up for debate. Some takes:
- "Say what you will about the Runaways," Peter Travers writes in Rolling Stone, but "they never played it safe. The movie does." He wants more out of the verboten relationship between Dakota Fanning's Cherie Currie and Kristen Stewart's Jett. Still, "Fanning scores a knockout."
- The movie "gets everything right" about the decade's "strange combination of despair and desperate energy," writes Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. And Stewart "is the revelation here," not Fanning.
- The highlight is Michael Shannon's "fierce and sadistic training scenes as Kim Fowley," the group's "evil Svengali" manager, Roger Ebert writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. Granted, Stewart and Fanning "bring more to their characters than the script provides." And there's "a whole lot of rock 'n' roll."
- Beyond the "softcore underage lesbian sex," there's not much to recommend, writes Nathan Rabin for the Onion AV Club. "The Runaways were the first major all-girl punk band. In honor of this distinction, they’re now the first major all-girl punk band to inspire a bleary, excessive, and altogether mediocre big-screen biography." Fanning is "disturbingly precocious" and "scantily clad," while Stewart remains a "dead-eyed talent vacuum."