Monday, March 7, 2011

Pushing the Christian buttons - The Adjustment Bureau

Ah....... Saturday night........ even better, date night with the wife! After a nice meal, my wife and I set out to take in a movie. It isn't often we get to have "alone" time with three kids. I'm sure anyone with kids knows what a treasure date night is.

Nevertheless, with the time of arrival and desired movie choices, the obvious pick for us was The Adjustment Bureau. From the previews it looked like a nice thriller and appropriate for what the wife and I enjoy for a date movie. Also from the previews one is given the impression that it is about some government agency that intervenes in the happenings of an individuals life. In particular, the life of the character played by Matt Damon in the movie. The impression you're given is partially right. Someone is certainly intervening into our lives but it isn't the Government. As a Christian, I struggled with the magnitude of the movie at its core for nearly the entire movie. Before I get into why, let me give you a SPOILER ALERT now. I simply cannot write what I need to say here otherwise.

Damon plays the title character David Norris, a playboy US Congressman from New York who loses his bid for Senate as the movie opens. On this election night as he prepares his speech to concede in what he thinks is an unoccupied men's room, he meets the character Elise and almost immediately falls in love. It was a short introduction as they are interrupted from a kiss by Norris's campaign manager. In the interuption, Elise scurries away as David is pulled away for his speech. Although they exchanged a kiss, David never caught her name.

By chance, a few weeks later they meet again on a bus. This is where the "adjustment bureau" comes in as this meeting was never meant to take place. At this time I have to identify what the  "adjustment bureau" is. They are the minions of God. Some might refer to them as angels but they don't call themselves that and God is referred to as "the chairman". They are "agents" if you will. Their purpose is to ensure the chairman's plan is carried out and if the plan is interrupted or gets off course, the agents interfere to make "adjustments".

The second meeting of David and Elise was never supposed to happen but it did because an agent fell asleep and missed his cue to interfere by spilling coffee on David, sending him to the dry cleaners rather than the bus. With that, David not only met Elise and obtained a phone number but also arrived to work on time as agents had frozen time and were making head adjustments to Davids campaign manager/law firm partner.  This is where the agents came clean and revealed the truth to David only to threaten wiping his mind clean of everything if he uttered a work or tried to pursue Elise, who he never should have met.

By chance, a few years later the couple meet again by astronomical odds. The chemistry between the two is undeniable and the tormented love story begins. The viewer is led to pull for the couple to get together. The villain keeping them apart is none other than the chairman. None other than God! As a Christian and as a sinner we are always tempted through sin to stray from Gods plan, yet I struggled with the magnitude of God being the kingpin bad guy here. In addition, I know that when God reveals himself to you it never leaves you in misery. When the Agent's revealed the truth to David, he was in misery. and eventually despite the adjustment bureau's warning, he continued to pursue the woman he loved. In turn, he is pursued in a "The Matrix" like fashion against hopeless odds.

I was also upset that the movie suggested God's plan could be upset. A timeless God, my God, doesn't need an adjustment bureau. His plan is unbreakable and if it can be changed, it can only be done so by his will. I was very uncomfortable about the position the Christian viewer is put in here. As the end of the movie  was wrapped up nicely to make me feel better about it, I still was left struggling with my thoughts. When God is revealed to you, he doesn't leave you to suffer and his plan IS the only plan and he has already won.

Overall the movie was pretty good. I simply don't have a vast imagination for how God operates. I also don't have much tolerance for how my maker is portrayed in any form of media. That's because the plan of God and his means of operation is layed out pretty darn clearly in scripture. So, if you're going to make a movie where God plays a part, at least do your homework.

No comments: