The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau Image
Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 404 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas--a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. (Universal Pictures)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 41
  2. Negative: 2 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Mar 4, 2011
    100
    An exhilarating balancing act, at once a science-fiction romp, a paranoid thriller and a philosophical treatise.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 4, 2011
    80
    Nolfi's dialogue is lean and often funny, while Damon and Blunt play appealing and clearly delineated characters drawn together by the kind of old-fashioned romantic passion you don't often see in contemporary movies.
  3. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Mar 4, 2011
    75
    Ultimately, The Adjustment Bureau shifts from paranoid dystopia to a more hopeful tenor, and that weakens it slightly.
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Mar 2, 2011
    63
    This "Inception" meets "Made in Heaven" by way of "They Live" is also the screwiest movie Matt Damon has been in since, what, "Dogma?"
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Mar 7, 2011
    50
    It's a clever idea that, around the mid-point, stumbles into absurdity as the movie itself makes too many lunatic choices.
  6. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Mar 3, 2011
    50
    A movie where the action scenes feel like filler, the romantic leads have little magnetism, and, before long, its metaphysical underpinnings fall to pieces.
  7. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Mar 2, 2011
    25
    There's a startling moment 10 or 15 minutes into The Adjustment Bureau - the only time, really, when the film achieves any level of surprise. The dispiriting dullness of this dreary misfire hasn't had time to settle in and thicken: The movie hasn't yet revealed its utter and thorough ineptitude.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 100
  2. Negative: 11 out of 100
  1. Apr 7, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. In Hirozaku Kore-eda's "Wandafuru Raifu", the recently dead get to make a movie that recounts their happiest moment which will play in an endless loop for all of eternity. Heaven is a short film. But before the person makes it to this celluloidal after life, the subject must sit through pre-production meetings conducted by angels, who look about as ordinary as Harry(Anthony Mackie) does, as well as the other fedora-ed men in "The Adjustment Bureau". The interview process, in which the vignettes are collected for the subsequent shootings, are held at a sort of way station, a decrepit-looking building that resembles a social services institution, the anti-thesis of the usual iconography associated with heaven. Heaven has an indie aesthetic. Angels with harps, the pearly gates, clouds- those overused tropes are too Hollywood. "Wandafuru Raifu", in its eccentric depiction of the hereafter, stood apart from the usual religious genre fare with the truly radical idea that our creator is actually an omnipotent studio head. Heaven is art, seemingly without any ties to organized religion. The same heaven-as-bureaucracy angle is also prevalent in "The Adjustment Bureau", where heaven has an annex on Earth which looks conspicuously like an insurance company building. When David Norris(Matt Damon) discovers that the world is being micro-managed by "case workers"(read: angels), then defies their grand plans for him by his insistence on pursuing Elise(Emily Blunt), a woman he was supposed to meet just once, the men in hats "kick" the case "upstairs". The "chairman"(read: God) send down an archangel-type named Thompson(Terrence Stamp), who informs the senator hopeful that free-will doesn't exist, only the appearance of it. The men who work for the Adjustment Bureau function as architects of predestination. In the Kore-eda film, free will, likewise, turns out to be an illusion, as well, since the movie that the people are collaborating with god on requires a script. A script suggests that everything is written out ahead of time, a collection of life experiences that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. For David, his happiest memory(were he an interviewee in "Wandafuru Raifu") may very well be the moment he says, "I love you," to Elise on the rooftop, kissing his muse as if it was for the last time, so he kisses her hard, while the bureaucrats approach the couple with the intent of "resetting" their mental faculties. Prior to being trapped on the terrace overlooking New York City, the fleeting lovers, in a sense, make their own movie, as they ingress into new locales with each turn of the knob, like editors, surveying the city in the blink of an eye. Their whirlwind jaunt through the urban landscape can be construed as a metaphor for how love has its own velocity when you're with the one you love. Whipping through Yankee Stadium, Times Square, and Ellis Island, time seems to move too fast. Time just slips away. Time passes you by. If David and Elise kiss each other deeply enough, the future amnesiacs hope that perhaps some vestige of their affinity for each other will survive. Maybe they'll find each other, similar to how Joel Barish(Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski(Kate Winslet) think they're meeting for the first time on that train to Montauk at the outset of Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". Lucky for the politician and the dancer, but unlucky for the fortunes of the film, their undying love never gets tested, because "the chairman" is a Judeo-Christian figure, whereas in the Gondry film, traces of Buddhism can be detected in the way the victimized Lacuna customers are able to recognize each other, which subtly suggests reincarnation, a concept commonly associated with eastern religions. The ending to "The Adjustment Bureau", in what is otherwise an entertaining mish-mash of reasonably sophisticated sci-fi and high romance, is sort of a cheat(or maybe not). God is perfect, right? Hypothetically, when does God ever change his mind? In Carl Reiner's "Oh, God", George Burns, playing our heavenly father, admits to making the pits in avocados too big, but he lets the imperfection remain as is. After forty years of presiding over earth under a working predestination model, now the chairman wants to give free will one more try? C'mon, now. The last time people were entrusted with free will, as previously stated earlier in the film by Thompson, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war. What if God didn't issue this edict? When Harry is summoned to the Chairman's chambers, what if the angel staged a coup, and took over the reigns of power? Maybe the Salon writer is right. Maybe Harry is the devil. Expand
  2. Aug 20, 2011
    9
    While it is not for everybody, The Adjustment Bureau is the biggest surprise of the year thanks to its excellent story, an A plus cast, andWhile it is not for everybody, The Adjustment Bureau is the biggest surprise of the year thanks to its excellent story, an A plus cast, and some awesome drama that pushes the story along satisfyingly. The ending is also fantastic. Expand
  3. Mar 26, 2012
    8
    The movie asks the question, â
  4. Mar 9, 2011
    7
    more of a love story than a complex "inception like" thriller, but still satisfying overall and features great performances by both Matt Damonmore of a love story than a complex "inception like" thriller, but still satisfying overall and features great performances by both Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Their chemistry alone fills the holes the convoluted plot digs as the movie progresses. Expand
  5. Sep 18, 2011
    6
    The main draw of this Sci-Fi Romance is that it doesn't try too hard to be a summer film or a hollywood film, Sure it ends with a chaseThe main draw of this Sci-Fi Romance is that it doesn't try too hard to be a summer film or a hollywood film, Sure it ends with a chase through New York directed with flair by George Nolfi. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt make this film with their strong chemistry and performances with Damon portraying a man stuck at a fork in the road subtly while Blunt is both erratic and elegant as a troublemaking ballet dancer. The story has a few plot holes but nothing you can't ignore because of the great energy of the film itself. As noted above the end chase is thrilling and well directed allowing the viewer to really feel the adrenaline and fear in the moment. The only downside really is the actual ending which doesn't really live up to the rest of the film which is well paced. The ending is rushed and doesn't seem to mesh with the general idea of the film with Terrance Stamps stoic Bureau employee turning almost cartoonish by even the slightest mention of the dreaded Chairman. aside from that it is a thrilling film from start to.....almost finish. Expand
  6. Mar 8, 2011
    6
    An ok film. I went to see it because I really like Emily Blunt. She did not disappoint. However I did not like the story or the philosophyAn ok film. I went to see it because I really like Emily Blunt. She did not disappoint. However I did not like the story or the philosophy behind it. That was what really let it down. I believe strongly in free will and this movie seems to be saying that we don't have that much of it? Expand
  7. Jul 4, 2012
    0
    Not a movie, more like a terd, with huge hollywood names slapped on it, flushed out to the sea of loving fans, who will all say how great itNot a movie, more like a terd, with huge hollywood names slapped on it, flushed out to the sea of loving fans, who will all say how great it was to their friends.. Just like I got douped. Concept = City of Angels meets, Matrix meets, What dreams May Come with Robin Williams..(in my opinion the other worst movie ever made) Expand

See all 100 User Reviews

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