I knew going in that I would like this movie because I have NEVER seen a movie that Anthony Hopkins has been in that I didn't like! (I must admit I haven't seen his Academy Award winning performance in "The Father" because it came out at the beginning of the COVID virus hitting and I still haven't found it on streaming.) He didn't disappoint me because he gives another standout performance but the picture surprised me by being more moving than I expected.
It is a personal picture written and directed by James Gray telling about a friendship between two boys in the sixth grade in PS 173 in Queens, New York. Paul (Banks Repeta) is the grandson of Aaron (Hopkins) who tells Paul about his (Paul's) grandmother, a retired teacher, Mickey (Tovah Feldshuh), who saw her parents killed in front her and then escaped Ukraine through Poland and England coming to the USA.
Paul is surrounded by family including 4 grandparents, his father, Irving. (Jeremy Strong), his older brother Ted (Ryan Sell) and mother Esther (Anne Hathaway). We see many dynamics between the family members including a rough scene between Paul and his father, the parents having arguments, the grandparents involved with all, the brothers not getting along and two tremendously moving scenes between Paul and Aaron.
Though the family interactions and feelings are an important background of the film it is the friendship between Paul, who is White, and Johnny (Jaylin Webb) who is Black. They meet and become friends partially as part of Paul's teenage rebellion and Johnny who is the frequent target of a particular teacher, Mr. Turkeltaub (Andrew Polk) called "Turkey" behind his back. Due to the 2 boys caught smoking a joint Paul's parents, though liberal, feel Johnny is a bad influence and enroll Paul in a private school in Forest Hills. It is easy to stereotype Johnny because he lives alone with his grandmother who has dementia and he has been left back in school but that is not what this film's main story is about but the time of 1980 with Reagan about to be president and racism along with the beginning of the division changing the world.
''Amageddon Time" has a lot going for it aside from the acting---though Anne Hathaway was hard to hear in a few major scenes--the family scenes, many familiar, hit home with everyone while the racist angle is an important part of how we got from the 1980s to now. I found it all to be very moving!