Programs like stranger things they tend to gloss over the ugliest side of the ’80s in favor of nostalgia. To some extent, that is understandable. The ’80s had some fun times for lovers of pop culture. But the new drama, Armageddon Time, is taking a decidedly darker look at what life was like for a young Jewish man named Paul Graff. His innocent friendship with a black classmate, Johnny, gets Paul expelled and sent to another school. More alarmingly, even Paul’s mother tells him to stay away from Johnny.
Perhaps the most disturbing, and therefore realistic, aspect of the trailer is that it’s pretty clear that Paul is moving away from Johnny. Instead of defending his friend against his new classmates, Paul looks uncomfortable as he listens to his racist comments about Johnny. It’s a tough situation to be in, but Paul isn’t making the right decisions and it may cost him his friendship with Johnny. He can also weigh heavily on his soul.
The only member of the family who really gives Paul any good advice is his grandfather, Aaron. He lived through the Holocaust and experienced anti-Semitism throughout his life. That is why he will not tolerate bigotry towards others, and encourages Pablo to defend his friend.
Banks Repeta stars in the film as Paul, with Anne Hathaway as Paul’s mother, Esther Graff, and Jeremy Strong as Paul’s father, Irving Graff. Anthony Hopkins stars as Paul’s grandfather Aaron, with Jaylin Webb as Johnny, Ryan Sell as Ted Graff, Dane West as Topper Lowell, Andrew Polk as Mr. Turkeltaub, Richard Bekins as Principal Fitzroy, Tovah Feldshuh as Mickey Graff, and Jacob MacKinnon as Edgar Romanelli. In the trailer, Jessica Chastain makes a cameo appearance as Maryanne Trump. John Diehl will also have a cameo in the film as Maryanne’s husband, Fred Trump.
James Gray wrote and directed Armageddon Time based on his own experiences growing up in the ’80s. The film hits theaters on October 28.