Before & After

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Carolyn and Ben Ryan (Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson) live with their two children, Jacob and Judith, in a New England small town where Carolyn is a highly respected pediatrician and Ben is an artist. It's the middle of winter and a teenage girl's body is found on a country road one afternoon. That discovery changes the Ryan family forever. Because Jacob (Edward Furlong), a teenager, was the last person seen with the girl and because he has disappeared, he is assumed to be involved in her death. Now the small town turns against this previously admired family. On top of the horror of the killing and the fear of what's happened to Jacob, Carolyn loses her medical practice and the family is subjected to theirneighbors' cruel assumptions. In the meantime, Ben has destroyed evidence trying to protect Jacob. When the truth finaly comes out, they are torn between doing what is morally right and avoiding harsh consequences. BEFORE AND AFTER is an intense, suspenseful story, but it's hard to believe this is not an expanded episode of As the World Turns.

Although the Ryan family is close-knit, it lacks any spiritual life. Jacob asks his parents to pray for him even though he knows they never pray. Ben ridicules the Old Testament story of Abraham being willing to slay his son as a test of faith in God, saying, "Who would want him [Abraham] for a father?" A threatening phone call to the Ryans' home is implied to be from a pillar of the church. Some moderate violence takes place, once in a flashback of the girl's killing and later a photograph of her bloodied head is shown. Townspeople set the Ryans' property on fire, and Jacob suffers a severe burn trying to put it out. Carolyn and Ben are briefly shown, fully clothed, having sex once. Jacob admits to having been sexually involved with the dead girl, but insists they practiced "safe sex." Six obscenities including two f-words, along with eight regular profanities, serve no purpose. Ben and Carolyn learn how difficult it is to "practice what they preach" about taking responsibility for your actions. The Ryans all suffer the consequences of their poor judgment, giving BEFORE AND AFTER some substance. Unfortunately, that is not enough to override the film's needless offensive language and derogatory remarks about religion.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Buena Vista Distribution, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (6) times - Mild 4, Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Several (6) times - F-word 2, s-word 3, other 1

Profanity: Many (14) times - Regular 8 (G, G-d, J, J-C), Exclamatory 6

Violence: Few times - Moderate (girl killed with blunt instrument, property set on fire, boy's arm burned)

Sex: Once (married couple, no nudity)

Nudity: None; Near nudity once (photo of girl with bare breasts covered by arms)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once (teenage couple in car embrace suggestively

Drugs: Some wine drinking at meals

Other: Family supportive of each other, importance of taking responsibility for actions stressed, religious beliefs belittled

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Older teenagers and adults

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