Rent Armageddon Time (2022)

3.0 of 5 from 185 ratings
1h 49min
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From acclaimed filmmaker James Gray and featuring an all-star cast including Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong comes 'Armageddon Time'. Set in 1980s Queens, New York, it is a deeply personal story about the strength of family, the complexity of friendship and the generational pursuit of the American Dream.
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Marc Butan, James Gray, Anthony Katagas, Rodrigo Teixeira
James Gray
Universal Pictures
Children & Family, Drama
Release Date:
Run Time:
109 minutes
English Audio Description, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1
Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, French, German
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Building a Family Cast
  • Growing Up Gray
  • A Grandfather's Legacy

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Reviews (5) of Armageddon Time

A coming-of-age drama full of nostalgia - Armageddon Time review by Philip in Paradiso

Spoiler Alert

Armageddon Time is a typical coming-of-age social drama, set in 1980, in Queens (in New York City). The central character is a young Jewish teenager and his African-American friend, who have met at the local state school. Paul Graff, a Jewish boy, befriends Johnny, a black kid. Paul comes from a middle-class family and is close to his maternal grandfather, Aaron (Anthony Hopkins). The family is not wealthy, but far better off than Johnny's. Johnny comes from a poor, broken home; he lives with his grandmother, who is ill. Johnny gets in trouble at school: he is a disruptive pupil and the teacher picks on him, presumably out of racially motivated prejudice, because Johnny is black.

The movie is about the 2 boys' friendship, and how Paul's family responds to the situation. Reality, in its harsh and unforgiving nature, soon encroaches on the 2 boys' innocent friendship. The film is good and sensitive in every respect. However, I found it not only plausible and realistic; I also found it highly predictable. Nothing happens along the way that surprises you: it is a good film, worth watching, but hardly an earth-shattering masterpiece, contrary to what some reviewers have claimed, in my view.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Well-acted if underwhelming critique of 1980s America - Armageddon Time review by PD

Spoiler Alert

This well-acted drama set at the time of Reagan's election has its moments but sadly ultimately fails in its depiction of its central theme of racial inequality.

James Gray's latest is presumably drawing on his own childhood to reflect on prejudice, privilege, and the eye-opening dangers of silence and complacency in American society, but whilst the intentions are admirable, the film isn't up to exploring the nuances of such complex topics in any depth and under-commits to sharing the truths of racial disparity when it comes to the American dream. Anthony Hopkins is unsurprisingly excellent as chorus-figure grandfather Aaron, whilst Michael Banks Repata turns in a worthy performance as his grandson Paul Graff, with good chemistry between him and Jaylin Webb as friend Johnny Davis - the childlike naivete of both is well-handled. But sadly Webb's character rarely gets beyond stereotype, his concerns being always in the background just as the privileged Graffs' are highlighted, and this means therefore that the attempts to explore class and race issues through the eyes of a child and his growing perspective fall rather flat. That's not to say that there aren't some telling moments - for example, when teacher, Mr. Turkeltaub's actions reveal that he almost expects delinquency out of Johnny, even when he’s not the culprit of classroom disruptions, thus neatly revealing the prejudice that Black children misbehave more often than their white counterparts, and these examples grow larger in scale as the film progresses. Yet, frustratingly, nothing ever comes from them on screen besides growing pains for Paul and his family, and whilst the family scenes are very well-done, this feels very uncomfortable indeed given the film's intended target. Ultimately, Gray's attempt to criticise how privilege paves the way to power and contributes to various levels of playing fields in pursuit of 'success', comes off as rather lazy and uninspiring.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Yet another Jewish victim sob story. - Armageddon Time review by AS

Spoiler Alert

I was drawn to this film by the presence of Anthony Hopkins -- one of my all time favorite actors. I was appalled to find that sections of the story could have been written by the Ukrainian propaganda center about how Jews have endured a unique level of suffering, above anybody else. Try looking at the slavery conditions endured by millions of Irish people. Very disappointing ...

1 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Armageddon Time review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Anthony Hopkins delivers an amazing performance as an aged grandpa Aaron in 1980 in New York. He’s not the central character but definitely has the heart to be the central mentor as the grandfather of the preteen Paul. Paul tells grandpa about the kids at school who refer to his pal from another school by the N-word. Aaron, having grown up with bigotry, gives Aaron some valuable advice about not chumming up with racists, noting that they’ll stab you in the back just as much in their hatred. He drives home this point in a way that is crystal clear for an impressionable kid: “F**k ‘em. That’s right, I said a bad word.”

Armageddon Time doesn’t hold anything back in its Americana coming-of-age drama. It portrays Paul’s growth during an uncertain time in the Fall of 1980. Reagan is about to be elected, the class divide runs deep, and racism is still very much alive in America. Paul, going against the wishes of some of his family, has opted to go to public school instead of private school like his big brother. While at school, he befriends Johnny, an African-American with a more rebellious side. Realizing the world has left him behind, Johnny intentionally causes trouble in school and often ditches it to play pinball or smoke weed. Paul, feeling a similar sense of wanting to get away, follows and befriends Johnny.

Paul’s life isn’t as bad as Johnny’s but it is certainly chaotic. His father Irving (Jeremy Strong) only views life as a series of lucky breaks. You get a decent job and keep your head low and maybe Paul could be a handyman just like his father, avoiding the discrimination he fears will befall Paul. Paul’s mother Esther (Anne Hathaway) struggles to keep her family together but is far too emotionally fragile to weather the tougher storms, despite her ease in making Paul smile. Of course, Paul’s aforementioned grandfather is a source of both wisdom and love, but once he dies, it feels like there’s nothing left for Paul, as though an age of sincerity died out with his elder.

The film is unique in how it takes dead aim at both the American Dream and systemic racism. Johnny gets blamed for stuff he didn’t do, leading him to believe that he should just do it anyway. When he finds he can’t live at home anymore, he resorts to stay in the shed behind Paul’s home. When Paul’s life gets worse, he decides to run away with Johnny, leading to a tragic conclusion. There’s a moment where it seems like Paul could be the white savior and bring the film to a fictitious ending of racism being solved. It doesn’t end well, being brutally honest how even standing up against racists will not always lead to victory but is a fight worth continuing.

Oh, and there’s a perfect punch of anger present when Paul is sent to prep school and given speeches by the stuffy Fred Trump and his daughter Maryanne. Both of them deliver essentially the same talk about how they didn’t have any handouts and that only the elite are bound for glory. It makes your blood boil but a simmering sets in when witnessing how Paul reacts to this by merely leaving, realizing people like this offer the worst advice. He will have to forge his own destiny and will need to avoid dog-whistling elites who bring out the worst in humanity.

Armageddon Time is such a fantastic, frank, and searing portrait of problems with the American dream. The mixture of the darkness that lurks in America’s heart as well as the hopes for a better future has a sublime mixture that makes the film as inspiring as it is somber. What an astounding film that is easily one of the best of 2022.

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