A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The message that making music and being cool goes hand-in-hand with broken lives, risky sex, and substance use is definitely on display here. But that's mixed with the message the band members embody onstage -- they're intense and passionate and unwilling to go gently into a chauvinistic industry's good night.
Positive Role Models
Parents are MIA, teens are lost, and the only grown-up who seems to care is a relentless bully. But he does care, at least about their music, and about their dreams.
Violence & Scariness
A band manager yells expletive-ridden insults at his protégés to toughen them up. He throws garbage at them, and gets others to do so as well. A girl throws a heavy object at a glass window, breaking it. Characters have loud arguments with each other. Older men menace a bunch of young girls and threaten them with bodily harm.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Girls make out, with both boys and girls. A couple seem to be having sex in a bathroom, with the guy positioned between the girl's legs, though very little is seen. A teenager struts around in lingerie and high heels on-stage, as part of her act. A man is shown pantsless, having sex with a teen girl, though no body parts are visible. A character poses for suggestive photos. Frank talk about masturbation.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Plenty of swearing, from "ass" to "s--t" to "f--k."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Signage for fast food restaurants. Name-dropping of various bands.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Plenty of drinking by teens and adults, and some pill-popping and cocaine snorting by teens too.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this music biopic is way too mature for Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning's young teen Twilight fans. It's full of drinking, drugging, and high-heeled swaggering, as well as plenty of sexy stuff, including kissing between teen girls and sex scenes between teen girls and young men. Substances are mostly limited to alcohol, but teens also snort cocaine. Parents should be prepared for teens to fantasize about running off and starting a band after seeing this movie. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
THE RUNAWAYS makes you long for the days when rock-and-roll was, to paraphrase Fowley, "a death sport" and making music wasn't all posture and preening (no autotune here). The look-and-feel is right, the hunger seemingly real and raw. And the music brings on punk-rock nostalgia in the first few guitar licks. Kudos to director Floria Sigismondi, and the entire cast she assembled. Shannon, Stewart and Fanning all bring it, and in style. The film makes good use of Stewart's nervous energy; finally, she doesn't come off angsty, only raring to go.
But yes, there is a stipulation: The whole enterprise doesn't fully gel. Like a band missing that secret ingredient that lifts them from relative anonymity. The styling's right, but the substance is not. Though Currie's family life as detailed here ostensibly informs her music and actions, the film goes for the obvious, simplistic connections. Abandoned child seeks sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll -- blah, blah, blah. But how did she really feel about the music? The same could be said for Jett here; she remains an enigma. Still, these mysteries don't fully prevent having a fairly good time.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.