10 Best Movies Like Armageddon Time – Screen Rant

James Gray’s deeply personal coming-of-age story is similar to these fantastic feel-good teen and family dramas.
James Gray's latest feature is his most personal one, delving into his upbringing in Queens and the teenage angst that he went through in the 1980s. With an all-star cast featuring the likes of Jeremy Strong, Anne Hathaway, and Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time also captures the struggles of the protagonist's family as they strive to achieve their own American dream.
For the viewers who enjoyed Armageddon Time, these other cult classics that find auteurs framing semi-autobiographical narratives or just human dramas that focus on family dynamics and coming-of-age experiences will be appealing as well.
As a family of Irish immigrants aims to build a new life in the streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen, they must also grieve the recent death of a child.
Told from the eldest daughter's perspective, the moving drama is a family affair right from the creative process itself, with filmmaker Jim Sheridan co-writing the screenplay with his daughters Naomi and Kirsten (with the trio even bagging an Oscar nomination). Hence, the father-daughter dynamics in the story are drawn from the Sheridan family's real-life experiences. The personal nature of the making along with the family's dedication to secure the future of its members are some themes in In America that would connect with Armageddon Time's viewers.
Lee Isaac Chung's breakout hit Minari recounts the life of Korean immigrants as they try to establish a new business in the States.
With the ensemble including the youngest child played by Alan Kim and a grandmother played by the Oscar-winning Young Yuh-jung, a generation gap is also explored in Chung's story. The traditions of the past clash with the modern hopes for an American dream in Minari. Viewers of Armageddon Time would also find such extremities from characters like Banks Repeta's impulsive protagonist Paul and his patient grandfather played by Anthony Hopkins.
Inspired by the true story of American businessman and motivational speaker Chris Gardner, The Pursuit Of Happyness recounts his early struggles with homelessness while trying to raise his kid along the way.
Considered to be one of the saddest movies ever, the 2006 drama benefits strongly from the personal touch that real-life father-son duo Will and Jaden Smith bring to the narrative. In Armageddon Time, the young hero's family battles anti-Semitism, their son's authoritarian private school, and economic challenges. The challenges are different in The Pursuit of Happyness, but the spirit to battle all odds and secure the child's future is common among the parent figures in both cases.
A couple is on the brink of divorce, but it is their two children who must bear the brunt. While familial conflicts, adultery, and divorces are common themes in Noah Baumbach's writing and directorial work, The Squid And The Whale finds him reminiscing on his own parents' divorce.
The fact that the narrative mostly focuses on the children's perspective rather than the adults is what would interest the viewers who enjoyed the coming-of-age elements in Armageddon Time. While the parents in the latter seem to be more sorted out, both movies highlight the power of good parental guidance for teens as they explore their fears of adulthood.
One of the prime case studies of the French New Wave, The 400 Blows is Francois Truffaut's love letter to his own childhood and love for cinema. The general premise deals with a rebellious teen who resorts to petty crime after feeling misunderstood by both his family and teachers.
The general angst of the lead character Antoine would be reminiscent of Paul in Armageddon Time, who must survive on his own wits after he is forcefully thrown into a private school. Further, the fact that this French classic set a benchmark for semi-autobiographical cinema makes it an essential watch for fans of personal narratives such as Armageddon Time.
Jame Gray's first tryst with immigration dramas was with the 2013 movie literally named The Immigrant. With Marion Cotillard joined by Jeremy Renner and Gray's frequent collaborator Joaquin Phoenix, The Immigrant tells the tale of a Polish woman who moves to New York for a better life but ends up being sold into prostitution.
Cotillard's moving performance as the protagonist showcases the trials and tribulations that migrants in America had to undertake in the early 20th century. While both The Immigrant and Armageddon Time are set in New York, the different time periods and character motivations showcase the sheer creative versatility of Gray's filmography, with Gray serving as the writer-director in both cases.
Roma is the story of a Mexican domestic worker and how she balances her tragic personal life with her professional life in a rich household. Meanwhile, the backdrop also includes the cultural and political shifts that Mexico undergoes as a nation in the 1970s.
Alfonso Cuarón gives his all in the writing, directing, cinematography, and editing department for a tale that is personal for him not just from the cultural angle, but also because of the script essaying his own upbringing. But by shifting the focus away from his younger self (as many a filmmaker has done before), he puts the spotlight on the housekeeper adding a slightly different touch to the subgenre of semi-autobiographical dramas. With all the awards love it generated and Cuarón's perspective, the modern black-and-white movie is a must-watch for Armageddon Time's audiences.
After a young girl wishes to compete in a beauty pageant, her dysfunctional family decides to embark on a cross-border road trip to ensure her dreams are achieved. But this journey becomes an introspective period for everyone involved, with each of the members carrying emotional baggage of their own.
Similar to feel-good movies like Little Miss Sunshine, Armageddon Time's family also treats its youngest child as the biggest priority, as is expected from a normal family, even if it comes at the cost of the adults sidelining their own issues. The difficulty in achieving this balance is brought out beautifully in both American dramas, each of which analyzes coming-of-age themes in their own heartwarming ways.
When an undocumented immigrant gardener moves from Mexico to the States, he strives to build a more stable future for his son. However, with the son mingling with criminal elements, the quest for a better life turns out to be more difficult than expected.
Demián Bichir's performance in A Better Life easily makes him one of the best on-screen dads in recent times as he tries his best to ensure his son doesn't stray away into the darkness, leading up to a rather tragic finale. Armageddon Time evokes similar paternal tones but as secondary plot points, as the central focus lies on the growing-up phase of the teen hero. However, A Better Life can serve as a good contrast, with the focus shifting to the father's overprotective perspective rather than the son's young recklessness.
Rather than following a straightforward narrative, The Hand of God plays out as a series of vignettes in a forgotten era as its lead usually wanders through the everyday realities of his mundane life only to encounter new experiences every once in a while; experiences that help him explore the nuances of love, life, and his own ambitions.
Largely drawn from Italian director Paolo Sorrentino's own coming-of-age in Naples, The Hand of God is a deeply personal journey of a boy who is supported by his loving family but is also uncertain of what the future holds for him. Hence, this Oscar nominee from last year would be a perfect companion watch with Armageddon Time given their diverse takes on growing up in the 1980s in different regions.
NEXT: 10 Best Autobiographical Movies, Ranked According To Rotten Tomatoes
Shaurya Thapa is an Indian freelance journalist who mostly dabbles in writings on cinema, music, and human interest features. When it comes to Screen Rant, he writes lists on a wide array of subjects ranging from international films to mainstream Netflix series and comic book trivia. He also hosts a podcast called ‘BhindiWire’, an Indian parody of IndieWire.


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