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'The Runaways' tells story of '70s girl group of the same name

Your interest in biopics about bands and musicians might depend on what you thought of their music in the first place.

Not a fan of the Runaways, an all-girl rock band of the 1970s, I wasn't excited about a movie called The Runaways, although I can see how music video director Floria Sigismondi would be.

Women have always had a difficult time claiming their place in rock 'n' roll. When Cherie Currie and Joan Jett (played by Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart, respectively) tried to break into the business, few took them seriously.

Record artist and producer Kim Fowley (played by Lexington native Michael Shannon) gave them a break — if break is what you call it — putting them together with some other teen girls to form a band that was a mixture of women's empowerment, exploitation and novelty. The showman Fowley trained them and served as their Svengali, selling them more as sexual objects than liberated women.

The musical aspect of the Runaways was hard-edged but not particularly inventive, and like many other bands of the times, they tried to emulate their heroes, such as the Rolling Stones or David Bowie.

It's not an unexpected story, and perhaps because the Runaways were more a footnote in rock than game-changers like the Doors or Ray Charles, Sigismondi's interesting but not compelling film feels at cross-purposes because it's about both Currie and Jett, although Fanning and Stewart prove themselves again to be young actresses to watch.

The Runaways retails for $27.96 or $34.95 on Blu-ray.

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