“A deeply personal coming-of-age story about the strength of family and the generational pursuit of the American Dream.” – IMDB
Armageddon Time is a tough watch and there’s not getting around that. However, if you can make it through the bleakness and tragedy of the story, then it contains an important message which other films do not often look at.
The movie follows Paul Graff, a Jewish public school student who befriends Johnny, his Black classmate who lives with his aging grandmother in an increasingly unlivable home. Over the course of the movie, we see how Paul and Johnny are treated differently, from Johnny being punished harsher for classroom antics to the tragic climax of the movie, which I will not give away here.
Armageddon Time touches on harsh but important truths within the American experience which resonate as much, if not more, today than they did in the 80s (the film is set during this time). It challenges what the American Dream really means and who is truly included within that dream. It wrestles with classism, racism, privilege, capitalism, evangalicalism, hypocrisy, and looking out for oneself vs. looking out for others. And it’s coming-of-age tone allows the filmmakers to look at the mixed messages we receive from our leaders and the mixed messages we, in turn, send to our children.
The film includes some truly beautiful performances, most notably Anthony Hopkins (who plays Paul’s grandfather) and Jaylin Webb (who plays Johnny). There is also a stomach turning cameo from an incredible, well-known and well-liked actress who turns up for a cameo as the absolutely villainous Maryanne Trump, who drones on about not asking for handouts in a school that was literally built by her father.
One of the many reasons this film is a tough watch.
Ultimately, I can recommend this movie while also understanding that it is not necessarily for everyone. There is no escapism in watching this movie and, so, requires a special mood for watching. If you decide to take the journey then good luck and feel free to message me as you cry in the fetal position afterwards.
Rating: 7 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: In America, Minari
Streaming: Available to rent on Amazon and Apple
With: Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Banks Repeta, Jaylin Webb, Anthony Hopkins
Directed By: James Gray