The huge eyes stare in awe, the pallid face betrays tenderness, and the hair falls in heavenly curls on the forehead. So, on the first day of the sixth grade in Queens, New York, in the fall of 1980, young Paul ventures out into the world. Additionally, the choice of Banks Repeta as the lead actor in “Times of Upheaval” shows that filmmaker James Gray wishes to witness an especially sensitive soul develop in the vast and constantly expanding genre of coming-of-age movies. the naive soul he himself was once.
Paul resides in the Flushing neighborhood with his Jewish family, and his cherished grandfather still brings up memories of the Holocaust and flying (Anthony Hopkins). Even though the mother (Anne Hathaway) and father (Jeremy Strong) both work as plumbers and are active in their parents’ association, worry pervades the family dinner nonetheless. The American dream puts pressure on Paul and his brother to complete college, and with Ronald Reagan’s election victory, a new coldness of the victors is sweeping the nation. Being a child who enjoys using colored pencils to draw his fantasies can already be seen as a dangerous rebellion.
All of this has the potential to easily morph into awkward self-adoration. We all know that James Gray (who just starred in the Brad Pitt picture “Ad Astra”) is a true artist, that his crayons have created storyboards for critically praised movies, and that he has a sizable bank account that allows him to escape his parents’ concerns. This movie, though, is not about doing what’s right when you’re young. It talks about how absurdly close everything was and another young dreamer who got lost in the crowd.
Paul and this Johnny (Jaylin Webb) end up at the front of the board on the first day of class since both enjoy cracking harmless jokes. Johnny is the only person of race in the class, therefore that is the difference. Because of this, he receives worse punishment than Paul, and the only time he actually faces risk is when he brings a joint to school without having previously used drugs. He and Paul are overheard laughing together in the bathroom.
The private school’s hallways are filled with the shadow of Donald Trump’s father.
Paul’s family then comes to the conclusion that the public school system harbors negative influences. Even though the grandfather sincerely believes that black people must always be protected from prejudice, he forgoes his savings to ensure that Paul attends a private school like his brother, where there are no black students. The “Kew Forest School” that James Gray actually attended is the same as this “Forest Manor Prep” school in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens. like a certain Donald Trump, who was alive years earlier.
Paul’s current attire consists of a blue school blazer with a gold plate-sized insignia and a tiger-striped tie around his neck. In addition, Gray insists that a particular scene from day one actually occurred. When it comes up that Paul is Jewish, Old Trump, real estate magnate Fred, who is in his 70s and hangs around in the hallways as the school’s major financier, looks like an irate reptile.
Thankfully, Donald Trump, who at the time had already requested approval for Trump Tower in Manhattan, does not show up. However, his older sister Maryanne, who is also a graduate of the school and is currently a prosecutor in New Jersey, appears. She addresses the youngsters in a motivational lecture about not expecting anything for nothing. Paul, who has come to realize how absurd everything is, wants to flee with Johnny, who is currently without a school or even a place to sleep. To raise money, they steal one of the first school computers, but the whole thing goes horribly wrong at the police station.
The happenstance of a neighbor, which allows Paul to escape once more, scares both him and his father enough that they are able to gather themselves back together. Johnny isn’t that fortunate, and as a result, the USA demonstrates its toughness. Growing up here meant dealing with truths that still sting bitterly now. Anyone who approaches this with the clarity and bitterness of James Gray does not fall into the trap of merely honoring his soft-spoken past self.
James Gray, writer and director of Armageddon Time, USA 2022. Photographer: Darius Khondji. including Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Strong, Anne Hathaway, Banks Repeta, and. Worldwide, 115 minutes. Release date for theaters: 24.11.2022.