Variety‘s Clayton Davis has posted a torpedo response to James Gray‘s Armageddon Time, at least as far as its awards potential is concerned. Scenes conveying white elitist viewpoints from three or four odious characters have rubbed Clayton’s woke sensibilities the wrong way.

In describing the film as deeply offensive in terms of said attitudes, Davis is half-suggesting that the film’s admirers are either missing something or oblivious to same.

The autobiographical Armageddon Time is a humanist, well-honed, memory-lane film about what Gray experienced as an 11-year-old youth in Queens, and the ugly elements that he encountered after enrolling in a Forest Hills private school. It’s the first really good film I’ve seen at this technically troubled festival.

Davis excerpt #1: “Armageddon Time, a deeply personal look at how the auteur became the auteur we, or at least the French, came to know and love, debuted to warm applause on Thursday. However, the film’s problematic depiction of racial inequalities in the Reagan era may turn off awards voters.”

Davis excerpt #2: “In a one-scene surprise, recent Oscar-winner Jessica Chastain plays U.S. State Attorney Marianne Trump, speaking to a sea of privileged white children at an elite private school, where [lead protagonist] Paul eventually attends, while Fred Trump (yes, Donald’s father) is present.

“[Marianne] channels the entitlement to be superior, oozing the grotesque and vile nature of a class of people in this country who are ‘the chosen ones’ for no other reason than the tint of their skin. While never named, two boys who use the ‘n-word’ when speaking about [a young Black protagonist] when he visits the school, have the narrative DNA of young Eric and Donald Trump Jr. The cringe factor may be too much to bear for more progressive voters.”

Davis excerpt #3: “Respected critics like Justin Chang of the L.A. Times were high on it, while Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian absolutely admonished it. Unfortunately, when this tale unveils itself stateside, a new racial debate will likely ensue regarding the undertones, similar to Licorice Pizza from Paul Thomas Anderson last year in the AAPI community. That may keep many voters at a distance.”