A coming of age story based on the life of director, writer and producer James Gray, Armageddon Time chronicles the life of a Jewish American family. The son in particular, Paul Graff (Banks Repeta), is a kid who dreams of becoming an artist. He struggles to understand the expectations not only within his family but society too, especially when he befriends the rebellious Johnny Davis (Jaylin Webb).
Where this movie really did well was in its performances. To have big names such as Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong star along aside each other was something in itself. And to think that they were all supporting roles who still managed to shine whenever they were on screen. This does not take away whatsoever from the acting chops of Repeta and Webb. As the story is primarily told through the eyes of both children, we see them most of all. I was worried I wouldn’t able to relate to them, but I have to say that the contrary happened.
Paul is different from those around him. His two favorite things in the world are drawing and his beloved grandpa. He doesn’t understand why he has to go to school or why he can’t be friends with the only African American in his class. The fact that he always tried to stick to his guns and stand up for what he believes to be true, at his age, was something I admired.
Unfortunately the story itself gets a bit muddled throughout. There is no clear direction or incident that moves the pace along. It is very much a character driven story and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I kept waiting for something big to happen. The same could be said for the way in which the film ended. It was left open for interpretation and I’m not sure I liked that too much.
At the end of the day, I’m very glad to have seen Armageddon Time. While not originally on my radar, it was an interesting portrayal of a time gone by, but still held true to how life is today.