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Armageddon Time: cast, plot first reactions and everything we know about the James Gray movie

Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins and Banks Repeta hug on set of Armageddon Time
Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins and Banks Repeta on the set of Armageddon Time (Image credit: James Devaney/GC Images)

Joining the slate of 2022 new movies is James Gray’s Armageddon Time. In case the title had you wondering, this has nothing to do with Michael Bay’s 1998 blockbuster Armageddon. Instead, Gray is telling a semi-autobiographical story with an impressive cast lined up to portray this fictional version of his family.

Here is everything we know about Armageddon Time.

When is the Armageddon Time release date?

There is no official release date for Armageddon Time yet, but we do know when the movie will first be shown. Armageddon Time was an official selection for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where it will compete for the top prize, the Palme d’Or. The Cannes Film Festival takes place in France from May 17-28.

Focus Features is the studio behind Armageddon Time, but has shared no information as to when the movie will reach general audiences after its Cannes debut. Since it is playing Cannes, we can guess the movie is pretty much done so it’s just about when the studio wants to position it. There will likely be an awards push for Armageddon Time, so a late summer/fall window would make sense for the movie. We’ll update this page as an official release date is announced.

What is the Armageddon Time plot?

As we said above, Armageddon Time is inspired by James Gray’s childhood in 1980s Queens. Here is the official synopsis from Focus Features:

"From acclaimed filmmaker James Gray, Armageddon Time is a deeply personal coming-of-age story about the strength of family and the generational pursuit of the American Dream."

Who is in the Armageddon Time cast?

James Gray has enlisted a some Oscar winners to headline Armageddon Time, as Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins are part of the movie’s cast. There’s also an Emmy winner in Jeremy Strong on board.

Hathaway is best known for her Oscar-winning work in Les Miserables, as well as movies like The Dark Knight Rises, Rachel Getting Married and The Princess Diaries, while she most recently starred in the Apple TV Plus series WeCrashed

Hopkins is a two-time Oscar winner for The Silence of the Lambs and The Father. He is set to be busy in 2022, with Armageddon Time and The Son, a reunion with his The Father director, Florian Zeller.

Strong has leaped to the A-list of actors thanks to his performance in the hit series Succession, where he plays Kendall Roy. On the movie side, he’s been in the likes of The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Gentlemen, Molly’s Game and more.

Following the movie's screening at Cannes, we learned that Jessica Chastain is also part of the cast in a cameo role as Maryanne Trump, the sister of Donald Trump.

The rest of the main cast includes Banks Repeta (The Black Phone, The Devil All the Time), Jaylin Webb (The Wonder Years) and Ryan Sell (House of Cards).

Armageddon Time reviews

Having screened at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, the first reviews for Armageddon Time have already come in.

Variety's Owen Gleiberman wrote, "It's a skillful, exacting, beguiling movie."

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter described the movies as "a refreshingly understated drama whose gentleness makes it all the more bittersweet. The same goes for the unimpeachably lived-in performances from Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong and Anthony Hopkins, along with two bright young newcomers."

Indiewire's David Ehrlich also singled out Hopkins while calling Gray's latest an "exquisite movie memoir."

Here are some other first reactions from critics who saw the movie at Cannes:

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Who is James Gray, Armageddon Time director

James Gray has been a fixture of the independent community more so than big budget Hollywood movies, but he has garnered himself a solid reputation over the course of his career. He made his feature directing debut with Little Odessa in 1994, then added The Yards, We Own the Night, Two Lovers, The Immigrant, The Lost City of Z and his recent and biggest movie, Ad Astra.

Gray has been a frequent visitor to the Cannes Film Festival. Prior to Armageddon Time playing there this year, he’s shown The Yards, We Own the Night, Two Lovers and The Immigrant to the French audiences.

Is there an Armageddon Time trailer?

No, we are still waiting on the Armageddon Time trailer. Some footage was shown, however, at the 2022 CinemaCon event at the end of April. Per Slashfilm, the footage featured Anthony Hopkins’ character talking to his grandson about how he should help kids being picked on, particularly Black kids during the era when the story is set as other clips showed the grandson getting a look at the kind of prejudice a friend of his experiences. 

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.