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Sunday, March 20, 2011
Quick Review: The Adjustment Bureau
Although "The Adjustment Bureau" is a science-fiction tale on the surface -- the titular bureau guides people into certain actions that affect their lives and the lives of others -- it's really a love story. A young candidate for U.S. Senate from New York, David Norris (Matt Damon), loses the 2006 election due to a scandal (not much of one, but then again I'm not as prudish as some). On Election Night he meets Elise (Emily Blunt) hiding in the men's room -- she was crashing a wedding held in the same hotel where David was giving his concession speech. Their encounter leads him to ditch his speech and speak from the heart, and that catapults him back into favor with the voters, setting him up for another run in 2010. It also leaves him enthralled with Elise, whom he never thought he'd see again until they happen to meet on a bus. Then he stumbles upon the Adjustment Bureau in mid-manipulation, and is warned by one of the higher-up "caseworkers" (John Slattery) that he was never meant to see Elise again. Their plan for David is to be elected to the Senate and go on to bigger and better things, while she is to become a world-famous ballet dancer, but if he continues to pursue Elise none of that would happen and they'd be forced to "reset" him -- something like a lobotomy. The movie delves into the conflict between man's free will and God's plan (essentially, the caseworkers are angels and God is "the Chairman," although they don't explicitly identify themselves as such), and what happens if the plan changes, but at its heart it's about the romance between David and Elise, fighting to stay together even as the forces of heaven try to keep them apart. Conveniently, the angels -- sorry, caseworkers -- have some weaknesses that affect their power, giving David a fighting chance. The ending was kind of a cop-out, though. My grade: B-plus.