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Before and After

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PG-13
1996

Set in the quaint, close-knit community of Canaan, Vermont, "Before and After" is an emotional family drama, directed by the masterful Barbet Schroeder. The film is based on the novel by the same name, written by American author Rosellen Brown, and brings to light the fear, terror, and remorse an otherwise perfect family experiences when their world is shattered by a devastating incident.

Starring Meryl Streep, one of the most lauded actresses of her generation, and Liam Neeson, an actor known for his powerful on-screen presence, the film explores the dichotomy of an idyllic family life turned upside down. They play Carolyn and Ben Ryan, a seemingly normal couple leading a serene life with their two children, Jacob (Edward Furlong) and Judith (Julia Weldon).

Carolyn, played by Streep, is a pediatrician, and Ben, played by Neeson, is a renowned sculptor. By all accounts, they appear to be a happy, successful family — a beautiful house, successful careers, and amiable, well-rounded children. However, this picturesque life is shattered when their teenage son, Jacob, played by Edward Furlong, becomes a suspect in a shocking murder.

Furlong delivers a potent performance as Jacob, a boy who enjoys reading books, keeping to himself, and harbors a deep, troubling secret. He embodies the quiet, inquisitive, and often misunderstood teenager excellently, crafting a rich and intricate character portrayal that is worthy of note.

At the heart of "Before and After" is the exploration of the lengths to which parents will go to protect their children. Faced with an unimaginable circumstance, the Ryan family becomes torn between their heartfelt loyalty towards their kin and their moral duty toward society. The unfolding events test the family's unity, strength, and love for each other.

Meryl Streep, ever the acting powerhouse, gives a deeply moving performance as Carolyn, the mother caught between devastation and desperation. Streep brings alive the torment of a mother grappling with her son's potential crime, convincingly portraying the emotional turmoil of a shattered dream.

Liam Neeson's portrayal of Ben is filled with raw, sometimes aggressive, protective paternal love. He grapples with regret, guilt, confusion, and resentment as he strives to maintain the family fraternity while dealing with the grim reality of their predicament.

Ben and Carolyn's differences of opinion on how to handle the traumatic situation bring out the complexities of their individual characters as well as their relationship dynamics. Their convincingly portrayed dilemmas offer a glimpse into the human propensity to protect loved ones while grappling with their own fears, regrets, and remorse.

Supporting performances from actors, including Alfred Molina as the lawyer Panos Demeris, add depth and perspective to the narrative, showcasing the societal implications and courtroom intricacies surrounding the case of the Ryans.

Director Schroeder, an Academy Award nominee, works his magic on "Before and After." With his deft directorial hand, Schroeder blends the gruesome reality of a murder investigation with the heart-wrenching narrative of a family coming apart at the seams. The beautiful landscape of Canaan, Vermont, serves as a stark contrast to the dark, brooding narrative of the film, enhancing its emotional depth.

In conclusion, "Before and After" is a gripping exploration of a family at the brink of despair and the moral ambiguities that emerge in the face of adversity. With its stellar cast, emotive narrative, and expertly crafted character portrayal, the film serves as an introspective look at the power of paternal love and the crushing weight of justice.

Before and After is a Drama, Thriller, Mystery movie released in 1996. It has a runtime of 108 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.1..

How to Watch Before and After

Where can I stream Before and After movie online? Before and After is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Before and After for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.1/10
Director
Barbet Schroeder
Stars
Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Edward Furlong, Julia Weldon, Alfred Molina
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