Written and Directed by George Nolfi, based on a story by Philip K. DickStarring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, Terrence Stamp
February, 2011
It seems that Matt Damon, with films like “Hereafter” and “Dogma” on his resume, has a yen to make films that have some aspect of spirituality to them. And he certainly is determined to make movies with meat on their bones (True Grit, Invictus, The Informant, Syriana). “The Adjustment Bureau” is at heart a romance, but it’s also deeply interested in the conflict between free will and predestination, an argument many of us were raised on. Are we best at determining our future or is a higher power better off in charge?
PLOT: Based on a story by Philip K. Dick, the movie written and directed by George Nolfi, ponders the idea that each of us is kept in check by some other other-worldly idea of what our future should be. And to this end, a large group of “adjusters” roams the earth, seeing that we stick to that diagram. If the plan is not followed, an adjustment takes place. The parameters of this path is laid out in a digital notebook that each adjuster carries.

David Morris (Matt Damon) is headed for a Senate seat when he is side-tracked by an interest in a woman (Emily Blunt) he meets in a men’s room. They share an immediate and intense attraction and spend the rest of the movie trying to find (and keep) each other.

The Adjustment Bureau is determined this will not happen. They have laid the groundwork for a political career for Morris, quite cruelly, in fact, and put every impediment they can muster in the way of true love. David and Elise have a connection that seems to defy the bureau’s plan and we spend most of the movie watching them find the way to outsmart their adjustors.
“The Adjustment Bureau” is at heart a romance and despite its unique conceit, it plays out as one. I had no problem with this. But it seems awfully tame for what it could have been. It could have used a little Christopher Nolan in its writing. An adjustment in script might have made this a great film instead of a decent one.
Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.