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Still shot from the movie: The Adjustment Bureau.

The Adjustment Bureau

A young politician (Matt Damon) stumbles upon a secret organization that monitors and controls others' lives. Determined to be with the woman he loves (Emily Blunt), he confronts the forces of Fate that are conspiring to keep them apart. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B 3.5
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: C+
Language: D+
Drugs/Alcohol: B-
Run Time: 105
Theater Release: 04 Mar 2011
Video Release: 21 Jun 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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How We Determine Our Grades

Ever feel like your life is being tweaked? That you are being pushed down a path you hadn’t intended to take or that Fate is intervening? David Norris (Matt Damon) hasn’t given much thought to those questions. He’s too busy. As the youngest person to ever win a New York Senate seat, the ambitious young politician from the rougher side of the city is on a meteoric rise in the popularity polls. That is until a picture of his impulsive mooning incident at a bar makes headlines just before the votes are cast.

Forced to face his fall from grace, David retreats to the men’s bathroom on election night to practice his concession speech. There he meets Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), an aspiring ballerina who is hiding from hotel security after crashing a wedding. Whether it is fueled by their shared penchant for pushing boundaries or the unlikely location of their introduction, the two fall instantly in love. And that is when strange things begin to happen.

Arriving at work the next morning, the young man discovers all the office employees in a static state. Then he is ambushed and taken to a large empty warehouse by several serious, dark-suit and fedora wearing men—the Adjustment Bureau. Stepping outside their normal procedural parameters, they let David in on a little secret. They are the force that controls the events of life. And when people get off track, they move in to do readjustments. Unfortunately David’s meeting with Elise was not supposed to happen. Giving him a stern warning about pursuing her and a strong reminder that they will be watching, they send the young man through a door that puts him back in his office where all has returned to normal.

Despite the oddity of the event, David resumes life (though he does develop an aversion to men in hats). However, he doesn’t forget Elise. And in spite of the agency’s attempts to keep David and Elise apart, the two of them meet again three years later when David is on the brink of another election.

Much as his character in the Bourne trilogy, Matt Damon spends a lot of time looking over his shoulder in this role. But the force he is dealing with is bigger and more powerful than even the CIA. Instead of relying solely on a government conspiracy theory, this thriller takes more of a sci-fi angle, raising the question of just how much we control our own lives.

Frequent language, including a strong sexual expletive, and a violent car accident that results in bloody injuries will likely cause the most concern for parents whose older teens are interested in this story. As well, David and Elise engage in sexual activities portrayed with bare shoulders and passionate kissing.

Yet regardless of how you feel about the existence of higher powers, the film’s suspenseful plot raises some interesting suspicions about free will and those seemingly incidental coincidences that happen every day.

The Adjustment Bureau is rated PG-13: for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image.

Director: George Nolfi
Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Studio: 2011 Universal Pictures
Website: Official site for The Adjustment Bureau.

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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