Science fiction is a genre that can be blended with other unique styles of storytelling to make an original narrative like no one has seen. The master of this would be the late, great Phillip K. Dick, whose stories have inspired films such as Minority Report, Blade Runner, and A Scanner Darkly. Now we have The Adjustment Bureau, a movie that has such strong chemistry between its leads and a love story that is touching and difficult all amongst an atmosphere of science fiction and philosophy.
David Norris (Matt Damon) is a New York congressman who has just suffered a terrible defeat for a senate seat, but his pain is alleviated when he meets the beautiful Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) in the men’s room of all places. They quickly fall in love, but this is not part of the plan. Soon Norris is being chased down by mysterious men in suits and hats who call themselves the Adjustment Bureau. Their job is to make sure everything goes according to the “Chairman’s” plan, which has David and Elise never meeting more than once. David can’t accept a life without Elise, so he begins to fight against the Bureau’s rules and the plan in order to escape with the woman he loves.
When you really stop and think about it, this is a beautiful story that has both thrills and romance, both of which are equally powerful. The connection between Damon and Blunt is incredible, and almost special in a way. The difficulty of crafting a romantic film is making sure the actors have believable and exciting chemistry. The chemistry is so perfect between these two actors that I was surprised sparks weren’t flying from my television.
Looking beyond the overt sci fi – romance elements of the narrative is crucial to really feeling like you understand the movie. There is a very open and unassuming religious and/or philosophical debate about fate vs free will. When asked who the Chairman is, the Bureau’s response cleverly dodges the answer. When asked if they are angels, they say that is only one interpretation. This gives people of all religions and philosophies to be able to discuss this movie without any barrier of ignorance.
The Adjustment Bureau is one of those movies where the entire situation seems hopeless for the main character, which only makes us root for them more. Damon’s character is very likable, and I couldn’t see him played by anyone else. The audience really wants him to succeed, especially since we can relate to love and the desire to hold on to it, despite what it may cause in our future.
I went into The Adjustment Bureau with high expectations, which isn’t always a good idea. Luckily, this movie exceeded my expectations. I’ve seen some pretty negative reviews of this movie, and it makes me wonder if those critics watched the same movie I did. It was suspenseful, thrilling, funny, and romantic. What else can you really ask for in a movie? I definitely recommend The Adjustment Bureau.