Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau

What if you met someone randomly, but after a moment knew that you were destined to be with them forever? What if the world were designed so that you could never be together, despite what you know in your heart? The Adjustment Bureau asks these questions while offering a sincerely romantic look at what it means to pursue your destiny.

Confession: I've never read a Philip K. Dick story. Not one. I didn't even know who he was until I started hearing about this movie. When I did hear of him, I heard that he was a noted sci-fi author, and based on that info, and the previews, I thought the Adjustment Bureau looked like something from that genre, with a little romance thrown in (did I ever tell you how my mom tried to convince me Under Siege was a romance so I would watch it with her?). I'm not normally one for major Sci-Fi-ish movies, but here is what lured me in about The Adjustment Bureau:
* Matt Damon
* Love
* Weird premise of people being "adjusted"
* Matt Damon
* Emily Blunt being so beautiful in the previews
* It looked kind of action-y
* Matt Damon
So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard from multiple sources (my parents, and the three hands) that this story was way more romance than sci fi.

The Adjustment Bureau follows Senate hopeful David Norris as he meets, loses, meets again, loses again, and  maybe meets again his possible true love, Elise. At each step of the way, there are enigmatic men wearing fedoras who are talking with each other, watching the happenings and seemingly interested in the happenings for some reason. The role these be-capped men play in the lives of Emily and David, and ostensibly almost everyone in the world, is soon revealed and our hearts are broken along with our Hero's as we learn that following hard after love involves making sacrifices.

That's all I'm going to say about the story for now, because I want you to go into it without knowing too much. Its the themes I really want to talk about.

First, the theme that we don't have free will (or rather that we sort of have free will on the little things, but not the big things). This made me think a lot about the tensions between free will and predestination. In the movie, the plan is constantly changing - but the bible teaches us that we have a God who is outside of time and who knows the end from the beginning. So is the plan really changing? or are all these adjustments part of the fabric of it all?

Second, the theme that love is worth pursuing for against all. Agree. Wholeheartedly agree, and biblically speaking, I think this is verified. God pursues us to the ends of the earth. When we pursue him back, that is even better. True also in human love - as imperfect as it can be - mutual pursual is awesome and to know that someone made life choices based on their hopeless (because they may never see you again) love for you is pretty amazing.

Finally, the theme that we write our own story. I've been talking about this lately with a new friend, and I like that throughout this movie there are moments where Matt Damon's character refuses to believe that the story written for him is his story. He sees a different story, and sets out to write it for himself and for his love. While I believe fully in the providence and authority of God, I think that he also wants us to be walking out in faith and writing our story. He's like the ghostwriter, shaping it, guiding it, directing it, but in our day to day lives, as we seek to love him and serve others, we are writing our story.
Example: God tells us to love the downtrodden. There are a lot of ways I can do that. But for my story, one of the ways I want to do it is to know the homeless people in my neighborhood. I want to know their names and visit with them when I am on the way to the bus in the morning. In writing my own story of who I will be, I want to be the women who loves the downtrodden by acknowledging their humanity, by treating them like a person, like a friend. Somehow in those moments, I am both fulfilling God's perfect plan for me and being an author of my life.

Check out the Adjustment Bureau, for sure. I give it five spilled coffees out of five and think that it may end up on my Stranger than Fiction shelf as a go-to romantic favorite.

Disclosure one: My friends over at The Three Hands in the Popcorn Bag site also reviewed this movie - and frankly reviewed it really well. Check it out if you want more info:

Disclosure two: I saw this movie on a date with my new fella, and so I was probably predisposed to enjoy the romantic nature of the movie, but the fact is, I would have loved it anyway. I think we all want to be pursued, and we all want a love that is worth pursuing, so this movie was going to win me over no matter what.


Candice said...

I want to see this movie. :)Glad to hear you liked it.