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The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau title card

Year - 2011
Studio - Universal
Stars - Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Michael Kelly, Terrance Stamp, Anthony Mackie
Director - George Nolfi
Writing Credits - George Nolfi (screenplay), Philip K. Dick (short story)


David Norris (Matt Damon), a rising young political star, loses his election to be a United States Senator for the state of New York. As he is thinking through his concession speech in a hotel men's' room, Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) emerges from one of the stalls, where she has been hiding from hotel security for crashing a wedding. As they talk and joke, they immediately "connect" and impulsively kiss. But they're interrupted by David's campaign manager, Charlie Traynor (Michael Kelly) and Elise scurries off. David makes his speech, which is received as "electrifying" and uncommonly candid, putting him in position for future political success.

Some time later, David boards a city bus and is surprised and elated to find Elise there. They excitedly chat but, running desperately behind the bus is Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie). He is one of the men of the "Adjustment Bureau" and was supposed to have delayed David's departure so that the chance meeting with Elise wouldn't have occurred. Elise gives David her phone number, and he hurries off to a business meeting.

The Adjustment Bureau poster

Arriving at his office, David is shocked to see that his co-workers are in a state of suspended animation, being examined by a group of men in suits and hats. Seeing David, one shouts "Get him!" and they capture and secure him. After heated discussion about the situation among themselves, they reveal that he was supposed to have been delayed in his arrival, and that they are the "Adjustment Bureau", responsible for making the world work according to "The Plan." Further, they explain that David was not supposed to have met Elise, and that they will prevent the lovers from being together again. The leader, Richardson (John Slattery) warns that the alternative is for David's memory to be "reset", and he burns the paper with Elise's phone number.

David is convinced that he was, indeed, meant to fall in love with Elise, and is determined to outwit the Bureau and find her.


It may be coincidental, but the name "Elise" was also the name of Jane Seymour's character in Somewhere in Time, another tale of lovers separated by formidable obstacles.