Before and After (1996)

before and after

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Son is a murderer.

This is a solid drama based on the novel by Rosellen Brown detailing how a family copes after their teenage son Jacob (Edward Furlong) is accused of killing his girlfriend.

Thoroughly engrossing and believable from beginning to end and full of intriguing plot twists. It is fascinating how it examines things from a completely unique perspective namely the family members of the perpetrator, which is rarely ever done. The story is also interesting in that it gets the viewer too become quite attached to Furlong who plays the accused. The film forces the viewer to face and question their own moral judgments, which is good since many films these days seem timid at digging too deeply into anything of a serious nature or forcing the viewer to confront any of their own preconceived notions.

On the negative end the film lacks cinematic style and at times almost looks like it is a TV-movie. Meryl Streep is okay as Jacob’s mother, but this is definitely not one of her better performances. There is a love making scene between her and Liam Neeson that looks mechanical and is completely unnecessary. Viewers who have had family members or friends that have been victims of crimes may find themselves upset with some of the moral conclusions.

Overall this is a strong drama that presents a lot of issues that are timely and haven’t been done anywhere else. Despite a lack of flair or visual style it is still an excellent piece of storytelling with an outstanding performance by Furlong.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: February 23, 1996

Runtime: 1Hour 48Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Barbet Schroeder

Studio: Caravan Pictures

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video 

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