It goes by many names: Kismet. Adrsta. Predestination. Determinism. Destiny. "God's will."
The ancient Greeks dubbed it "Moirae" and gave it personality -- Fate. Or, rather, "The Fates," three female supernatural beings who spun, pulled and cut the literal threads of life that controlled when a person was born, what they did with their life and when and how they
In an intriguing new film that explores themes of fate, destiny, divine and human (free) will, that same idea is called "The Adjustment Bureau" -- an otherworldly bureaucratic organization controlled by an unseen entity (or, perhaps, deity) known as "the Chairman."
A cadre of caseworkers in fedoras and dark suits -- a cross between G-men, IRS agents and guardian angels -- carry out the Chairman's will by making sure we humans don't stray off course. They track our movements and decisions on a kind of heavenly GPS device and make small "adjustments" to our decision-making processes.
The idea is to keep us on a predetermined track -- on a course we know nothing about and can do nothing to change.
In "The Adjustment Bureau," God's G-men carry out their duties on the periphery of the natural world where the curtain separating the here from there is as sheer as gossamer. They're around us all the time, everywhere, watching and, occasionally, tinkering as needed.
The clandestine machinations of the Adjustment Bureau are revealed to David Norris (Matt Damon) a young, rising political star running for U.S. Senate in New York. On the eve of his first unsuccessful bid for the Senate, Norris has a chance encounter in the men's room of the Waldorf Astoria with a beautiful ballet dancer, Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), who is hiding from hotel security after crashing a wedding reception upstairs.
Their attraction is immediate and powerful. Emily is charming, whimsical and passionate. David is enchanted and transformed by her honesty. They kiss -- instant soul mates -- and then Elise makes a Cinderella-esque exit without ever giving David her name.
That encounter was part of David's fate, we learn, but it was "fated" to just be a one-time thing. They were not "supposed" to meet again, ever. But when they do meet again on a city bus, David strays from his preordained course. That's when the Adjustment Bureau's agents intervene.
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