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Before and After
Before and After
Actors: Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Edward Furlong, Julia Weldon, Alfred Molina
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
PG-13     2004     1hr 48min

Two of Hollywood's brightest stars, Meryl Streep (THE HOURS, ADAPTATION), and Liam Neeson (GANGS OF NEW YORK, SCHINDLER'S LIST) deliver spellbinding performances in this riveting, suspense-filled thriller! A small, close-k...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Edward Furlong, Julia Weldon, Alfred Molina
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Creators: Barbet Schroeder, Chris Brigham, Joe Roth, Jonathan Glickman, Roger Birnbaum, Rosellen Brown, Ted Tally
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Family Life, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/06/2004
Original Release Date: 02/23/1996
Theatrical Release Date: 02/23/1996
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 16
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

A Family Torn Asunder
Alric Knebel | Biloxi, MS | 11/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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. Nothing cute or sweet happens here, and it's strictly for mature audiences, in that the subject matter is presented soley from the adults' point of view, from their sense of responsibility and self-doubt.

Whenever I'm participating in a film newsgroup or a film subscriber-list and the subject of favorite but lesser-known films comes up, I always mention BEFORE AND AFTER. I'm glad to see that it's been released on DVD and I'm going to be ordering it as soon as I finish this review."
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 09/27/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"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. Moreover, Liam goes and does exactly the opposite of what the attorney suggests, thinking that he knows better, as does Carolyn. The only ones in the Ryan family who are likable are our erstwhile killer and his sister. Edward Furlong gives an excellent performance as Jacob, a young man who acts inappropriately when faced with what can only be characterized as a terrible tragedy, one that he did not foresee but perhaps should have. He ultimately finds his own moral compass, despite his father, and manages to make his troubled character sympathetic. Meryl Streep gives a sanctimonious and priggish performance, barely able to rise above the banality of her character, while Liam Neeson's performance is best characterized as that of a bellowing bull in a china shop. Angelo Molina gives a an smoothly adept performance as the canny defense attorney who knows only too well what lies ahead for his hapless client, given the antics of Jacob's idiotic, though well-meaning, parents. This is a drama that should have held the viewer spellbound, but which, instead, succeeds only in irritating the viewer for the most part. Moreover, the ending is absolutely ridiculous. The filmmakers should have had a legal consultant on the payroll, preferably one with a working knowledge of criminal law. If they did, then they should consider suing whoever advised them so poorly."
Too much like a TV movie
Mr. B. G. Fowler | 07/13/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)

"After their son is implicated in the murder of his girlfriend, parents Streep and Neeson disagree on what course of action to take. Should son Furlong tell the truth as advocated by Streep or should he go with Neeson, who has already destroyed evidence on his behalf, and make up a new version of events in an effort to remain out of jail.The tagline of how far would you go to protect your own flesh and blood promises an awful lot more than it delivers. Indeed, it never manages to raise tension, even in scenes that by rights should be the most interesting in the movie, such as the revelation of what really happened between Furlong and his girlfriend. All performances are intact and correct; this is exactly the kind of role that fits Streep best (even though she was a whole lot more enjoyable in 'The River Wild'), Neeson is likewise very good in an unfortunately stereotypical role and even though Furlong is often typecast as the troubled teen he plays it better than any other.However, the primary flaw is that something that promises emotion never really reaches boiling point and despite the star names you can't help but think that it all looks very much like a TV movie. All this and the ending offers no kind of conclusion or redemption for its character, leaving its audience hanging but not really caring."
A Well-Done And Satisfying Movie! Massachussetts
Mr. B. G. Fowler | 08/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I think "Before And After" was a really good movie. It was very moving and it really showed that not all families in movies hate each other. The movie is about a teenager named Jacob Ryan (Edward Furlong) and his family trys to help him by not going to jail because he got into a fight with his girlfriend and killed her. It is a very realistic movie because something like that could happen to anybody else. The whole cast was excellent and everybody in the movie did a great job, especially Liam Neeson, Meryl Streep, Edward Furlong, and Julia Weldon. I recommend this movie to anyone and everyone because I really enjoyed it."