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The Runaways, Floria Sigismondi (2010)

The Runaways are complicated. There’s the uplifting narrative of five strong young women who wanted to rock, took on the condescending sexist music business, had a great time, and hit it big. There’s the depressing narrative of extremely young and naive girls being manipulated, drugged, and exploited by the condescending and sexist music business, which profited mightily. Then someone will inevitably pipe up and say, “It’s all about the music, man!” The music was indeed awesome, but it is not all about that. Sigismondi, in her first full-length, does a great if sometimes uneven job of embracing both the joy and the ugliness in this story. She also wrote the script, which is itself pretty darn good. This is far from a perfect movie–it indulges in too many cliches, for starters–but when you think about how easily it could have been so much worse, you begin to recognize its achievements.

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