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Before And After 1996 PG-13 CC

The idyllic life of Carolyn and Ben Ryan is shattered in an instant when the girlfriend of their teenage son, Jacob (Edward Furlong), is found brutally murdered.

Starring:
Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson
Runtime:
1 hour, 47 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Mystery
Director Barbet Schroeder
Starring Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson
Supporting actors Edward Furlong, Julia Weldon, Alfred Molina, Daniel von Bargen, John Heard, Ann Magnuson, Alison Folland, Kaiulani Lee, Larry Pine, Ellen Lancaster, Wesley Addy, Oliver Graney, Bernadette Quigley, Pamela Blair, John Wylie, John Deyle, Timothy Patrick Cavanaugh, John Webber
Studio Hollywood Pictures
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Skimming through the reviews for this movie, I was disappointed at a couple of the extremely harsh criticisms. While there are perhaps some elements bearing a semblance to a made-for-TV feature, "trash" seems an utterly over-the-top comment, missing the very simple point this film made. I was very moved by this movie, and watched it three times when it was new, on VHS. It's on my list of films I consider underrated and ignored by audiences, as it was simply not an exciting story per se. Something about the snow and cold seem to tamp down what action there was, and the filmmakers didn't try to broaden its appeal by pumping up the action with some cinematic gimmick. Instead, they opted to simply tell a story. You're either connected to it by its premise or you're not. I got connected early on, and I found myself almost panting in dread for the father's desperate moments as he destroyed the evidence, one of the few scenes that would pass as having any REAL action. I immediatly took his side, understood his disregard for the incorrectness of it. At the end I was heartbroken.

Every now and then, everyone lines up to praise something like SIDEWAYS (a good film; I'm not disagreeing), but the filmmakers' attempts at indie-film understatement are belied by a script full of quirky characters stimulated by equally quirky events. A film like BEFORE AND AFTER depends strictly on the familial realism in which obligation and dependability are core values, and what happens when events challenge their depth and present the necessity of risking one's own freedom in the slim hope of preserving a son's. Sometimes a more primal integrity supercede's one's obligation to the law.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is a film that had a great premise going for it and, consequently, should have filled the screen with some semblance of suspense and drama. Unfortunately, as others have sagely pointed out, it resonates like a made for television movie, despite the stellar cast.

The film takes place in a rural area of Massachusetts, where an artist by profession, Ben Ryan (Liam Neeson), and his doctor wife, Carolyn (Meryl Streep), live with their two teenage children, Jacob (Edward Furlong) and Judith (Julia Weldon). Unbeknownst to Ben and Carolyn, Jacob is carrying on with the town's junior vixen. Things come to the fore when the young woman is found dead, and their son disappears. Naturally, things do not look good for Jacob. The well respected Ryan family suddenly find itself cast in the role of the town pariah, shunned by many of the local yokels.

Ben takes things into his own hand upon discovering evidence that would implicate Jacob in the girl's death and destroys that seemingly inculpatory evidence. When Jacob is apprehended and returned to face charges, the Ryans, upon the advice of a local attorney and friend, Wendell Bye (John Heard), obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney, Panos Demeris (Alfred Molina), for their son. Thereafter, Ben and Carolyn proceed to disregard everything that the attorney advises them to do. Moreover, they each do their own thing with respect to their son's interest, much to his detriment.

Ben comes across as a somewhat unlikable and doltish, single-minded character. While Carolyn, who seems to have a moral compass and knows the right thing to do, comes across as a foolish woman who neglects to include her son's attorney in the equation.
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3 Comments 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This is one of the movies that I wasn't so sure I was going to like, how can you make an entire movie on the premise of one tragic act, but it was really excellent. First of all, the cast is superb, I wouldn't be able to say who impressed me the most, the acting was that good. A terrible crime is commited and the son of a prominent family is implicated. The movie really ends up being about whether or not the son really did it. The parents don't know, the police don't know, we the audience have no idea. I changed my mind back and forth throughout the whole movie. It was awesome. What I really liked at the end was how realistic the movie ended up. I highly recomend this one, it kept me riveted from beginnning to end.
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Format: DVD
Since I missed this movie when it played in theatres and love anything that Meryl Streep does and also am a big fan of the writer Rosellen Brown, whose novel the film was based on, I rented the DVD, expecting the worst, from some of the reviews I had read. I am happy to say that my time was not wasted in watching "Before and After." Meryl Streep as always is the consummate actress. When she is on the screen, you cannot take your eyes off her. Liam Neeson certainly is no slouch as an actor either.

The film stays fairly close to the story line of the novel, as best I recall. Ms. Brown's novels, though very serious, always ring true. In her world, nothing is promised. In this instance a family living in Massachusetts is torn apart when the teenage son Jacob is accused of murdering a local teenage girl. While both the novel and film are entitled "Before and After," we are dealing essentially with the "after" here, as in one moment both our entire lives and the lives of those we love can be irrevocably changed. This movie asks hard questions. To what lengths should one go to in protecting his family? Should one tell the truth no matter what the cost? Is one innocent until proven guilty?

This is certainly a film well worth watching. If you liked the movie-- or even if you didn't-- you will find the novel ever more thought-provoking.
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