Movies:Movie Reviews:The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau

Director(s): George Nolfi

Writer(s): George Nolfi

Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Michael Kelly and Terence Stamp

Reviewed by: Christine Lambert on

Release Date(s)

Mar 4, 2011 - Wide

Did you just turn to this review to read on your own? Was it predetermined? If it was, whose decision was it? No, you made the decision on your own? Are you sure?

Those are the types of questions one will invariably ask themselves about life and their existence after seeing The Adjustment Bureau. Starring Matt Damon as David Morris, a Senate candidate, and Emily Blunt as Elise Sellas, a dancer he falls in love with at first sight, The Adjustment Bureau plays with these two characters trying to alter what seems like a destined union.

David first meets Elise as she hides in a men’s washroom. He’s obviously smitten with and not in the least dissuaded that the girl of his dreams was in the men’s room hiding in a stall. He doesn’t see her again until three years later when they bump into each other on a bus after an error is made by Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie), an Adjustment Bureau case worker.

The Adjustment Bureau, we learn, has the mandate to make sure that people’s lives adhere to a predetermined plan. One of its top officers, Richardson (John Slattery), tells David never to see Elise again unless he wants to be reset, which is just a nice Bureau word for what can only be an equivalent experience to a lobotomy. David though becomes determined to be with Elise and the more adjustments he makes contrary to his predetermined plan, the more his life becomes in danger.

At the heart of this film is a love story between David and Elise. It plays on the common, cliched saying most often used to explain the potentially inexplicable: “It was/wasn’t meant to be”. Here David knowing the truth about the Adjustment Bureau’s mandate, sets forth to write his own destiny. He does what he can to change the outcome that was set forth for him, but not by him. The Adjustment Bureau cleverly asks the question, What would you do for love? It also raises questions about fate, free will and determination. Was I meant to sit here writing this review? Was it my choice or do I just think it was my choice? The debates that could potentially arise from seeing The Adjustment Bureau are endless and, no doubt, potentially circular.

Matt Damon shows once again his versatility as an actor moving seamlessly from drama to action to romance. Emily Blunt, who stole scenes frequently in The Devil Wears Prada, can also glide between genres and her work here as Elise is sweet, sexy and sassy. What really works is the chemistry between Damon and Blunt. They bring their characters to a level that makes the audience root for them even if it is against their destiny.

The Adjustment Bureau works on two levels: a science fiction thriller and a love story. No matter what your preconceived notions are about this film, it will surely deliver a satisfying ride that will leave one with only the right questions. Or will it?