Following up his sci-fi epic Ad Astra, unclassifiable American auteur James Gray returns with a more personal but no less ambitious work, a coming-of-age drama loosely inspired by the director’s own childhood. In the early 1980s, 11-year-old Paul Graff (Banks Repeta) lives comfortably surrounded by his middle-class Jewish family: mom (Anne Hathaway), dad (Jeremy Strong), and grandfather (Anthony Hopkins). On the first day of sixth grade at Paul’s recently integrated public school, he establishes a connection with Johnny (Jaylin Webb), a Black student. Though Paul and Johnny both get into mild mischief, Johnny receives harsher punishment from their teacher, leading Paul to gradually become conscious of his own privilege. Elegantly balancing warm nostalgia for a lost New York with an unsparing evocation of a Reagan-era city buttressed by racial and class inequalities (including appearances from the Trump family), Gray sensitively portrays the blind spots in even a well-meaning liberal white family’s worldview.
CAST: Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Strong, Anne Hathaway, Banks Repeta
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