What is Armageddon Time about?

Simply put, the film is a coming-of-age period drama set in 1980s New York, which tells the story of a young boy from a Jewish family whose friendship with a young Black boy ruptures the status quo. Set against the backdrop of former President Ronald Reagan’s election, Armageddon Time addresses a social system and racial politics that remain relevant today.

Who is in the cast of Armageddon Time?

Vogue Hong Kong’s November cover star Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong play parents Esther and Irving Graff respectively; newcomers Banks Repeta and Jaylin Webb are Paul Graff and his friend Johnny Davis; and finally, Tovah Feldshuh and the beloved Anthony Hopkins take up the role of Paul’s grandparents.

May 19, 2022 Anne Hathaway, Director James Gray, Jeremy Strong, Jaylin Webb and Michael Banks Repeta at the 75th annual Cannes film festival screening of Armageddon Time.
Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

May 19, 2022 Anne Hathaway, Director James Gray, Jeremy Strong, Jaylin Webb and Michael Banks Repeta at the 75th annual Cannes film festival screening of Armageddon Time.

Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

When is the release date for Armageddon Time?

It premieres in select theatres in the US this Friday October 28, and will continue to expand on November 4. It will be available nationwide by November 11.

Is there a trailer for Armageddon Time?

Yes. On September 6, the film’s distributor Focus Features tweeted the release of Armageddon Time‘s official trailer, which they uploaded onto YouTube. In an allusion to the American dream, the trailer begins with bright pops of electric keyboard and the funky disco bassline of Good Times by Chic, as a recording of former President Ronald Reagan plays over top: “The United States stands for an idea whose time is now.” Scenes of the Jewish Graff family paint the picture of a loving suburban home, and we’re briefly introduced to 11-year-old Paul’s friendship with Johnny. The two boys run into some trouble at school and, accompanied by a foreboding change in music, the complexities explored in the film begin to reveal themselves.

The film received a 7-minute standing ovation at Cannes

James Gray’s Armageddon Time was first screened at the Cannes Film Festival back in May this year. The film received a 7-minute standing ovation from the audience, a touching gesture that brought tears to the eyes of Hathaway, Strong and director James Gray. In an emotional speech that followed, Gray spoke to the Cannes audience for the first time in his career (including Armageddon Time, five of his features have competed for the Palme d’Or). “My deepest gratitude to all of you for coming here… It’s my story, in a way, and you guys shared it with me.”

Armageddon Time is James Gray’s most personal work to date

American director and screenwriter James Gray debuted his first feature in 1994 with Little Odessa. Today he is best known for The Immigrant (2013) as well as The Lost City of Z (2016) and Ad Astra (2019), both of which are films that belong to the adventure drama genre. With Armageddon Time, Gray presents a semi-autobiographical work, offering a glimpse into his childhood upbringing in 1980s Queens— a time he feels was pivotal both personally and for the country as a whole. The Graff family are cinematic reflections of Gray’s own of Ukranian-Jewish descent, Repeta’s character dreams of being an artist and the Kew Forest Private School he is sent to is Gray’s real-life alma mater.


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Jessica Chastain’s cameo was a gift of sorts

When the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it’s safe to say the audience was surprised to see Jessica Chastain make an appearance. In Armageddon Time, Chastain stars as Maryanne Trump, who is seen in the trailer giving a speech at the private school. Maryanne —who is, yes, Donald Trump’s sister— worked as a United States Attorney and was eventually appointed to the District Court in New Jersey in the 80s. Chastain’s role as Trump came completely unannounced, but it turns out that was her doing. She told Variety that it was the only request she had for her involvement in Armageddon Time, believing that her payment for the role should instead go back into financing the film.

The film and its stars are in the running for various Oscar categories

Focus Features has revealed that it has submitted Armageddon Time and its actors for various award categories. Both Hathaway and Feldshuh will be in the running for best supporting actress, while Strong, Hopkins and Webb will be seeking best supporting actor. Repeta on the other hand, will be up for lead consideration. Armageddon Time itself is joining the races for best original screenplay, cinematography, production design, costume design, and original score.