Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. A rich and surprisingly old-fashioned musical biopic, The Runaways has neither the bloat nor the blather of your average Hollywood treatment of stars on the rise.
  2. 83
    The Runaways isn't just about rock 'n' roll; it IS rock 'n' roll, as loud, sexy, sometimes sloppy and ultimately exhilarating as the music can be.
  3. 80
    The best rock 'n' roll movies are less about strict authenticity than about capturing a vibe. And The Runaways gets the vibe just right, from its opening shot.
  4. 75
    Its interest comes from Shannon's fierce and sadistic training scenes as Kim Fowley, and from the intrinsic qualities of the performances by Stewart and Fanning, who bring more to their characters than the script provides.
  5. The strength and beauty of The Runaways are that it tells the truth.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    It's an artistic and authentic evocation of an era but a rather surface-skimming story of the '70s all-girl rock band fronted by Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. If anything, it just makes you want to know more about Jett's back story and Currie's subsequent life.
  7. 75
    A soaring, sympathetic ode to the outlaws, subversives and insurgents who occupy the edges of popular culture, making them safe for everyone else's dreams.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    In rock, it's about the attitude as much as the music. In some cases, more so. And the Runaways were all attitude.
  9. 75
    The three leads provide convincing performances, with Dakota Fanning being the standout.
  10. The Runaways captures the sleaze and innocence of the era and has some still-relevant things to say about the conflict between girl-rocker empowerment and exploitation.
  11. 75
    It is a well-acted and vivid re-creation of a dark, downbeat era when "girls don't play electric guitar," and you had to be someone pretty tough and pretty special to try it.
  12. Because the movie captures the period so well and argues so convincingly that the Runaways' very existence was revolutionary, it doesn't have to exaggerate the highs and lows to create a more salable story.
  13. Much of The Runaways plays out in the key of dreary. But there's a flinty integrity in this movie's look at the rock grind, and Stewart and Fanning are intensely watchable.
  14. The vigor and pace is electric, and the movie features three showy performances by Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon.
  15. The Runaways broke new ground. And if "The Runaways" doesn't, it's still a movie worth watching - and listening to.
  16. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    In The Runaways' first hour, there's a guttural pleasure to be had in riding waves of rock-movie cliché spiked with socio-sexual commentary. The movie is at its best when working through the contradictions of teen sex-for-sale, when it's both turn-on and creep-out.
  17. 70
    The movie may be a little too tame in the end, but at its best it is just wild enough.
  18. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    The wispy insubstantiality of The Runaways can't be blamed on its cast--Fanning, Stewart, and Shannon are all good in their roles, even if their range is never tested. Ultimately, maybe it's OK that there's not much below the surface of this great-looking but shallow movie.
  19. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    A conventionally enjoyable making-and-breaking-of-the-band saga.
  20. 70
    Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) steals his every scene as the aphorism-spouting Fowley while Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning often fade into the 70s wallpaper as guitarist Joan Jett and front woman Cherie Currie.
  21. 67
    The Runaways nails both the glammy, SoCal temper of the mid-Seventies and the metallurgic tempering of the first all-girl rock band in America.
  22. The most entertaining thing about The Runaways, a highly watchable if mostly run-of-the-mill group biopic, is that its writer-director, Floria Sigismondi, has a sixth sense for how the Runaways were bad-angel icons first and a rock & roll band second.
  23. 63
    Say what you will about the Runaways – they never played it safe. The movie does.
  24. 63
    An entertaining but routine rock flick.
  25. Despite Sigismondi's fresh eye, feminist perspective, and rapport with actors, The Runaways feels like a long-form music video, recycling every trope from the doomed-rocker handbook.
  26. For her part, Stewart has Jett down pat: her strut, her slouch, her sexiness. This is a performance that goes far beyond Jett's shag haircut.
  27. Fanning's Currie grabs the spotlight immediately, and never lets go.
  28. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Cringe-making fun for survivors of the '70s. For the younger majority: a familiar rise and fall of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll enlivened by the gender reversal and performances.
  29. There's lots of volume in these tunes--the soundtrack is killer--and at least everyone gets their rocks off.
  30. 60
    Far from a perfect movie, but there are moments when it comes about as close to catching the visceral kick of the pre-iPod rock experience as any film I've ever seen.
  31. The problem with The Runaways is that they went with the wrong girl.
  32. 50
    The Runaways ultimately feels too lethargic and conventional for the wild story it tells.
  33. It's when the music stops that we run into problems. For starters, there are so many questions left unanswered.
  34. 50
    A movie that tells -- or rather, circles -- the story of the band's formation and abortive career.
  35. In patches it's agreeably lurid, but it's otherwise ho-hum.
  36. 50
    They're now the first major all-girl punk band to inspire a bleary, excessive, and altogether mediocre big-screen biography.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 15
  2. Negative: 3 out of 15
  1. Oct 18, 2010
    This movie kicks ass and takes my favorite so far this year. The music is awesome, great performances by the cast and it makes me wanna be a rockstar! Watch this movie :O) Full Review »
  2. Mar 31, 2013
    The Runaways is a nice little film about a rock band spiraling out of control. Let's face facts though, we've seen this movie a million times before (Velvet Goldmine, Almost Famous, That Thing You Do) and this one plays it very much by the numbers. Still, it works well enough for a pleasant night's viewing. Full Review »
  3. IAC
    Nov 24, 2012
    This movie confused the definitively passive Cherie Currie with anything even closely resembling a protagonist. Fanning's performance was good, but the story was miswritten, and should have focused on the character who actually drove the action, made the decisions, and who was in every way the hero: Joan Jett. The conflict was unclear, Currie gave us nothing to root for, and it fell back on the typical story of a rock star brought low by the lifestyle. The movie was soft-spoken and meandering; completely at odds with the hard-nosed grit of its subject matter. There's a good story somewhere in the history of the Runaways, but this wasn't it. Full Review »