Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image.
The Adjustment Bureau was a terrific film that I know won't be for everyone, but I loved it.
David Norris is well on his way to becoming the next Senator from the state of New York when a scandal erupts a couple of weeks before the election. He is crushed but in defeat meets the woman of his dreams in Elise. But he doesn't get her number, or even her name, and goes on with his life. The morning he is to start his new job, he runs into Elise on a bus and this time gets her number. But little does he know, he's set off a chain of events that wasn't planned for him. He walks in on something he was never supposed to see and learns that there are people out there who control our lives, and David has veered off his path. Being with Elise isn't part of the greater plan for David and the powers-that-be will do whatever it takes to keep them apart. But true love can never be defeated and no matter what obstacles are in their way, David and Elise will do whatever they have to to be together, even if it leads to their demise.
**This will be a spoiler filled review simply because I can't write about it any other way**
The trailers for The Adjustment Bureau make you feel like this movie is going to be a mind-bending sci-fi event film. But really, the movie is a romantic drama about two souls who were meant to be together, no matter what anyone else says. The movie reminded me a lot of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, not in the sense that the story was the same, but the feeling was the same. It was a high concept love story that was at times dark, at times lighthearted, with a spiritual/sci-fi twist to it. I think what I liked most about the movie is the realization very early on that this isn't simply a sci-fi film because the people chasing David aren't some kind of secret agents from the 50s. They're in fact, agents from God, who they refer to as The Chairman. The movie discusses the notion of free will and how much of a role God plays in our lives and tells us that at this point in human history, humans need a lot of guidance. So everyone has a path they're supposed to be on, for the greater good of all mankind. David is supposed to win his next attempt at becoming Senator because eventually it will lead to him becoming President, which will have an impact worldwide. But if he gets together with Elise, his entire path changes because she would be all he would need in life. So The Chairman sends his workers out to do whatever they have to to keep David and Elise apart. But something inside David makes him believe that she's his true love and even though he knows being with her could lead to him being erased, he pursues her at all costs.
And it's this exact story line that will turn off a lot of people. I know people are going into this thinking it's a sci-fi adventure when really, it's a love story. Now, I'm a sucker for a good love story, and this one surprised me because I wasn't expecting it. But to me, what really makes a good love story is when you believe the two characters are really in love. And with Matt Damon and the lovely Emily Blunt, I believed it. Their actions, the way they looked at each other, the way they just were with each other... it all made me believe that there was really something between them. Both are obviously talented actors and these roles felt like they were made specifically for them. The supporting cast was great as well, led by Anthony Mackie, John Slattery and Terence Stamp, all playing people who worked for The Chairman, but at different levels.
What then set the movie apart from a traditional love story is the sci-fi aspect of it. The workers had the ability to travel through the streets of New York by using doors that could take you from midtown to downtown in the span of seconds. They also had the ability to manipulate situations with the turn of a wrist and feel what people were about to say or do. That added trickery was perfect in making the audience think there was nothing these two could do to be together. It added an extra layer for them to fight through and made the victory at the end even sweeter. Yes, they do get together at the end... otherwise this wouldn't be a true love story, now would it?
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I loved The Adjustment Bureau. I know full well a lot of people won't, because they'll feel tricked into seeing a movie they weren't expecting. And even if they're OK with that, the story is almost too spiritual for a lot. While I'm not the most religious person, I still kind of liked the idea that there were people out there looking out for me. And that maybe there is a plan for me, even if I can't see it.