Before and After
Director Barbet Schroeder and screenwriter Ted Tally adapted the novel by Rosellen Brown into this intriguing drama that, while heavily criticized for a third-act revelation that is something of a cop-out, nevertheless features -- typically of Schroeder's work -- compelling performances, domestic discord, and a search for the truth. Meryl Streep stars as Carolyn Ryan, a rural Massachusetts pediatrician married to Ben (Liam Neeson), a handsome, rugged sculptor. Although theirs is not a picture-perfect marriage, the Ryans consider themselves happy, until police arrive at their home one morning to inform them that their son Jacob (Edward Furlong) was the last person seen the night before with a teenage girl who has been murdered. Jacob is missing, and the Ryans frantically search for him, but when the boy returns, it is obvious that he's not being completely truthful about the night's events. While Carolyn wants the truth, Ben is willing to go to whatever lengths are necessary to defend Jacob, hiring an expensive lawyer (Alfred Molina), destroying evidence, and encouraging Jacob to be deceitful. Carolyn and Ben's opposing views of their son's legal trouble cause serious turmoil in the Ryans' marriage, which may be irreparably harmed in spite of the 11th hour appearance of the truth.