The Runaways (2010)

I saw this movie last week, and while I enjoyed it, I had mixed feelings. Not because the film was bad; on the contrary, it was a lot better than I expected, given my general disdain for Kristen Stewart films. I had no problem with any of the performances in the film, and thought that Michael Shannon was especially creepy/fantastic as music producer Kim Fowley. What bothered me was the ignoring of age limits for the two stars, who are both incredibly high profile. 

I though that Dakota Fanning's performance was incredible as drug addict/ rocker/ social outcast Cherie Currie, but the fact that there was a ridiculously tripped out sex scene between her and Kristen Stewart really bothered me. Stewart is 20. Fanning is 15. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Granted, nothing was actually shown, but to me, that doesn't matter. What matters is that most people know the ages of both these stars, and it isn't appropriate. I don't care if they're the greatest actors in the world- you can't ignore casting someone in an age appropriate role just because they're famous. This isn't a Woody Allen movie. It would be one thing if both actors were fifteen, or both were of age. I think that the casting directors took for granted the fact that most child actors are viewed as ageless- if you're seven, you can play anywhere from five to ten, and no one pays attention. You're just "a child." However, just because Dakota Fanning isn't a child actor anymore doesn't mean she's an adult, and if you've seen the movie, that was a pretty "adult" scene. 

In the film, Joan Jett is clearly older to begin with, which is another thing that bothered me because it could constitute the drugged-out seduction as rape. I'm not saying this was intended on the part of the filmmakers. The fact that Kristen Stewart is older doesn't help, and had they cast an unknown in either part it would have lessened the reaction value. Or maybe that's what they wanted. 

Cherie Currie does have sex several times before her scene with Joan Jett (and I'm sure that the guys shown are older than eighteen), but the fact that both the stars are so well known as child actors with different ages was what set it over the edge. Had Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart been replaced by less well known actors, the sex scene wouldn't have been quite as unsettling. 


Other than that one scene, I found the movie really enjoyable. It had a kick-ass soundtrack and was darkly amusing, putting funny one-liners in what would ordinarily be sad situations. Example: Cherie's father has just collapsed from drinking too much and Joan Jett jacks his booze. The film forces you to think about the humor in dire ocurrences, an ironic snapshot of what goes into building rock and roll. Michael Shannon was awesome, playing Kim Fowley as both creepy yet necessary- the girls put up with his bullshit because without him, there's no band. And he knows it- serious discussions are made randomly funny because he is in total control (example: there's a phone conversation about food and supplies where he's hanging upside down with no explanation). 

If the filmmakers were trying to make a statement, they did. What it was, I would really like to know, so if anyone has any ideas, shoot them out. Until then, I'm going to just pretend that I don't know who Kristen Stewart or Dakota Fanning are, since that's how I can enjoy the movie. It's just a shame that their performances were clouded by what are considered to be incredibly important social norms. 


The Movie Mistress

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