Before and After

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

Before and After (Hollywood Pictures Movie)

“Before and After” is a drama film released in 1996, directed by Barbet Schroeder. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Rosellen Brown and stars Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson in the lead roles.

The story revolves around Carolyn (played by Meryl Streep) and Ben Ryan (played by Liam Neeson), a well-to-do couple living in a small town with their two children, Jacob (played by Edward Furlong) and Judith (played by Julia Weldon). Their seemingly idyllic life is shattered when their son Jacob is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Martha Taverner (played by Alison Folland).

As the murder investigation unfolds, Carolyn and Ben are faced with the overwhelming reality that their son may be a cold-blooded killer. In a desperate attempt to protect their family and their reputation, they take drastic measures to cover up any possible evidence that might link Jacob to the crime.

The film delves into themes of parental love, deception, and the lengths to which parents are willing to go to protect their children. It explores the complexities of family dynamics and the moral dilemmas faced by the characters as they grapple with the truth and its consequences.

As the investigation progresses, the Ryans must confront their own guilt, fears, and the possibility that their son may indeed be guilty. The tension escalates as the truth unravels, leading to a heartbreaking climax that challenges the concept of unconditional love and loyalty within a family.

“Before and After” received mixed reviews from critics upon its release. While praised for the performances of Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson, the film was criticized for its uneven pacing and the lack of emotional depth in some of the characters.

Despite the mixed reception, “Before and After” remains a thought-provoking drama that explores the intricacies of family relationships and the consequences of one’s actions. It serves as a poignant examination of the lengths people will go to protect those they love, even when faced with difficult and morally ambiguous choices.

Overall, “Before and After” is a compelling drama that skillfully navigates the complexities of family dynamics and the impact of tragic events on the lives of its characters. It serves as a reminder of the fragility of family bonds and the profound impact of love and loyalty in times of crisis.

Additional Details


  • Meryl Streep: Dr. Carolyn Ryan
  • Liam Neeson: Ben Ryan
  • Edward Furlong: Jacob Ryan
  • Julia Weldon: Judith Ryan
  • Alfred Molina: Panos Demeris
  • Daniel von Bargen: Fran Conklin
  • John Heard: Wendell Bye
  • Ann Magnuson: Terry Taverner
  • Alison Folland: Martha Taverner
  • Larry Pine: Dr. Tom McAnally
  • Kaiulani Lee: Marian Raynor


  • Director: Barbet Schroeder
  • Producers: Barbet Schroeder, Joe Roth, Susan Hoffman and Roger Birnbaum
  • Screenplay: Ted Tally

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other site isDMR.