Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blog #50 - The Adjustment Bureau

***DANGER - SPOILER ALERT - If you haven't seen The Adjustment Bureau but still want to, do not read any further. 

While we watched the Adjustment Bureau, I had several questions as did many of you. Here were a few of them:
1. Who was the Chairman? Did Norris and / or Elise see the Chairman during the film or was it earlier in their lifetimes before the film ever began?
2. When Harry said to Elise and Norris that the Chairman rewrote the plan, the book showed a blank space ahead for the two of them.  What do you think that meant? 
3. Alexis and Cheyenne asked why there weren't any female adjusters.  I didn't have an answer for them as to that question.  I also criticized the film's Western / Euro - centered bias when it talked about giving mankind free will during the Roman times and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Assess the film in light of these flaws. 
4. Is Harry the Chairman?  Why or why not? 
5. Think about Harry's crisis of conscience when Elise and David broke up for the 3rd time (when he left her at the hospital), and he asked Richardson about the rightness of the plan.  Put yourself in one of the adjusters' shoes and try to make sense of it all when you're only given part of the picture. 
6. Looking at Harry's statement at the end (see below), what do you think is the filmmaker's message? Why?

“Most people live life on the path that we set for them to afraid to explore any other [path]/ Sometimes, someone like you comes along and knocks down the obstacles that we put in your way. People should realize that free will is a gift that you’ll never know how to use until you fight for it. I think that’s the Chairman’s real point. And maybe one day, we won’t write the plan, you will.”
Pick two of these questions and answer them for tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 5 before class begins. 
250 word minimum.  Thanks. 


  1. I think that the blank space ahead of them meant that they could create their own future. The Bureau tried once to control the two of them and it didn't work at all. They fought them every step of the way because they loved each other and would do anything to be together. If they tried to make a plan for the two of them again it may not work. They have already outsmarted one plan that was made for them, so the bureau may just be steeping back now. Getting their plan rewritten was a major accomplishment. I would assume that it isn't something everyone can do. They are going to make the most of their future being together now. Or it could mean that their particular plan is above the bureau. They weren't supposed to end up together or do any of these things so the bureau may not have a idea of whats ahead.

    I really don't think the adjusters have a choice of what they are doing. They have orders from the chairman and they always just have to carry out those orders. They are not really in the line of work where you can pick and chose what tasks that you do. You have to do all them or nothing. I doubt that every adjuster likes the jobs that he is assigned but they do it anyways because that's their job. If they were to just let things go, then they would have situations like Norris all over the place. The world would just be crazy if that were to happen. I'm sure they feel bad about the things that they have to do. Elise was really hurt by what they made Norris do to her. They have to just come to the conclusion that they are going to have to make people sad as part of the job. If they cant do that then they may not be in the correct line of work.

  2. 1.In class we talked about the chairman being a person in the movie but I think that the true “chairman” is God. In modern society we sometimes talk about God in a code way that is basically just saying he is a higher power. For example “The man upstairs”, or “The head honcho” even though were giving God human characteristics by calling him these names hes still something larger than life itself. I think in the movie the Adjustment Bureau they are doing the same exact thing. Another moment that I began to think the chairman was God was when Harry was giving the speech to Norris and Elise about how they have already seen the chairman and that he is in everyones life in different ways. Growing up I was taught that God is in every and can take different forms. So I think that since the Chairman is God he has been in Norris and Elise's lives all along.
    6.I think that the filmmakers message was that even if our whole lives are planned for us, we can still have part in our own destiny. I think he was trying to wake people up and show them that they can break free from this plan that they feel they are forced to follow. If a girl is told all her life that she will have to go to college, graduate, have a career, get married, and have kids; she will most likely follow that plan just as she was told. I think the filmmaker was trying to say that that plan should be made by ourselves. No one else should be telling us how to live our lives.

  3. Cheyenne Stone Fifth Hour: 3.The fact that there weren’t any female adjusters made me kind of angry. It kind of puts the movie in a bad light, and as if the director is saying that women aren’t good enough to control the actions of humans. It’s not that it was offensive because I would never want that job, but to feminists who have worked so hard to get women’s rights the point they are at, it would probably make them angry. I think that the director did this because men may seem more intimidating than women. If there was a women adjuster, she may not seem intimidating to the audience that this bureau is scary and has a lot of power. As for the movie being centered around Europe and the West, this is another flaw that I don’t think was thought through very well. They talked about the cuban missile crisis and the depression and the holocaust, but nothing about Asia or Australia for that matter. Maybe the events going on in Asia did not go well enough with the coincidences of the two times free will was given to humans. Maybe in Asia good things were happening during those times. I think that our discussion in class about there being another bureau for the east is an excuse for this flaw because at one point one of the adjusters said they have to supervise the whole world.

    6. I think the film maker’s message was that if you want something bad enough, you will do whatever is takes to get it, you will push down all obstacles, and you will take risks. Norris risked being “reset” to be with Elise, one of the biggest risks there was in that movie. I think the film maker wanted us to apply that message to our own lives, saying don’t let anybody stop you, because if you want something bad enough you will find a way. Another message I think it puts forth is that of perseverance. Norris was stopped many times by many people, but eventually got back up and kept going.

  4. "2. When Harry said to Elise and Norris that the Chairman rewrote the plan, the book showed a blank space ahead for the two of them. What do you think that meant?"

    I think that that means they basically get free reign over their own fates (which is stupid from the perspective of whoever wrote the Plan, since Norris becoming President and being the best there ever was was an important part of the Plan). They were gifted free will, because they fought for it (just like Harry said people should). They proved that they were good enough to write their own plan. They fought the law and they won (unlike Bobby Fuller).

    Well, either that, or the whole thing was a ruse by the Bureau to get Norris to do whatever it was they needed him to do.

    "Fighting" them for his freedom really motivated him. Who knows what the knowledge that he inspired a "change" in fate would do. Thompson is brought in when the situation is too complicated for Richardson to handle (he efforts to stop Norris were throwing off the plan with a bunch of Ripples), but Richardson was only brought in because things got too complicated for Harry to handle. There was also mention that Caseworkers are revealed more of the Plan the higher up the food chain they go (when Richardson was shown the records room at Bureau HQ, he seemed a little surprised that revisions were made to the Plan), so it seems fair to assume the Plan we saw being worked on was just the info needed to steer the Caseworkers in the right direction. Maybe the plan all along was to get Norris to stand up the Bureau, so he'd be motivated to stand up to anything else in life that got in his way (an unconquerable spirit would be pretty useful in the cut-throat world of politics).

    "6. Looking at Harry's statement at the end (see below), what do you think is the filmmaker's message? Why?"

    I think the message is that until people take the effort to do their own thing, they'll be bound to whatever path life puts them on. Until they actually try to live their own life, someone is writing the plan for them, and if they accept that, they aren't ready to write it themselves. The idea is that once people do things for themselves (without causing a Dark Age or almost nuking everything), they'll have reached that point where they deserve to do things for themselves.

    In the movie (and, depending on your views of people, in real life), most people weren't ready to take care of themselves. Whenever the Bureau stepped back to let people try, the people would crash and burn. It's like how some people just aren't ready for dorm life, so once they get to college, they fail their classes, party all night, and wake up naked on top of a statue.

    If the Chairman is God, it makes sense that he wouldn't want that for humanity. No parent wants to see their kid fail that badly. It would make perfect sense that the Chairman has the Bureau watch over things until people are stable. But if the Caseworkers knew they were just babysitting, they might not be as good at their job (if they think that someday they won't be needed, they might slack off, thinking that if things will eventually work without them, things might still work for a bit even if they loosen up), so they're lead to belief they're a permanent fixture (Thompson says that humanity needs the Bureau to avoid wiping itself out. Harry, the relatively young, not-yet-cynical Caseworker is only speculating that someday, people will be fine without them).

  5. Sydnee Cohen, H Philosophy 3rd hour
    Question #2
    When Harry shows Elise and David the changed plan, I think the end was blank because it means they get free will. Since David fought so hard for Elise, and went against his plan, he rightfully earned free will. Part of it could also be that the chairman felt touched by the love that Elise and David shared for each other, or the chairman could have even felt like he or she shouldn’t have changed Elise and David’s fates from when they were originally supposed to be together. Either way, no matter what the reason was behind this change, I think the blank page means that their future is up to them, and they can be happy together without the pressure of any plan.

    Question #3
    Despite many people thinking Harry isn’t the chairman, I think he could be. One reason I think Harry could be the chairman is because no one knows what the chairman looks like- he or she comes in all different forms. If no one knows what the chairman looks like, then even the angels have never seen him before. Harry could have been the chairman all along and tried blending in with the angels, not to deceive them necessarily, but to look at their progress or to help on more of a personal level. Another reason I think Harry might be the chairman is that Harry got what he wanted. Even though he was “following orders”, Elise and David ended up together like he wanted them to. Also, since David Norris was going to be the president and change the word, it was definitely a case that the chairman could’ve taken up himself. I think when Harry was talking to Richardson and asked if he thought that things weren’t always right with the plan, he was questioning himself as the chairman to see if he was making the right choices or not. When Richardson confirmed his belief that plans aren’t always right, Harry started helping Norris.

  6. Answers for 1 and 4:
    I actually have no clue on who the chairman is but I have two people in mind for possibilities for the chairman. Seeing that the chairman is in high power and has control over fate, I could see it being Harry because of some of the key things that he says throughout the movie. Harry was willing to give Norris information about how to find Elise and his character played an emotional role also. Harry mentioned that the chairman, as well as himself, was inspired by Norris and Elise to let them be together. At that moment when Harry said that, I thought the chairman could possible be Harry. Although the chairman was never shown, the adjustment bureau might not have ever seen the chairmen themselves so they do not exactly who it is either. Harry could have had the power to tell Norris where the wedding was and he could have had the power to make sure the adjustment bureau didn’t get to Norris and Elise in time before the book was rewritten. My second possibility was Elise’s friend. Elise’s friend was quick on her feet when she had to answer questions, like she knew everything that was going on. She told Norris where Elise was right before the wedding, without hesitation or asking Norris what he was doing there. She also kept asking Elise, before the wedding, if she was okay. I believe that she knew Elise wasn’t happy and her was of making her happy again was to rewrite the book and change fate. If either of those two are the chairman then Norris and Elise have seen them both throughout the movie.

  7. 1. I had initially thought that David Norris’ father was the chairman of the film. I didn’t have much explanation behind it but I felt it was right. Later during the hour, someone had mentioned the women at the courthouse and to me that clicked. It all made some sense. Especially being that the filmmaker said the chairman was a woman. Technically the only time we see her is that one scene but it was a very important scene. Without personally knowing their background she quickly answered Norris’ question that hadn’t even been verbally asked. Although she isn’t a main character, she helps the main character greatly and is in the film when it really matters.

    An important detail I forgot to add, I think she is Norris’ chairman and his chairman only. I don’t think we see Elise’s chairman in the movie. Elise must have been a friend with the woman because she was her witness, but Norris on the other hand had not met her before this moment, except I do think she had been told about him through Elise.

    6. In most novels, films, and even conversations, endings are very important. It’s the last mark left and the thing the audience leaves off with. At the end of Adjustment Bureau, Harry speaks a large and inspiring quote. In this statement, I think his main goal is to state the chairman’s purpose of which, you need to fight for what you want and without fighting, you won’t see what it’s worth. Obviously, he uses the example of Norris. He fought for Elise and his free will. The majority of people go with what they’re given and they don’t have the ability to realize what they are missing. This also applies to the reality we live in today. People do large protest and strikes to fight for what they want. In Harry’s words, maybe if they keep it up, they’ll write the plan.

  8. Who was the Chairman? Was the Chairman the guy on the street who called out to Norris, or was the Chairman the bartender, how do we even know the Chairman is even in the film at all? We don’t, all we know is that there is, a Chairman, and we have all met him at some point. There is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, someone at the top, sitting in a great big director’s chair in the clouds, calling all the shots. The chairman is writing the plan, and is singlehandedly determining your next movie, and those of the people around you. But, if the Chairman is really able to control everything, if the Chairman can make a man walk into David Norris and spill coffee on Norris’ shirt, then what need does the Chairman have for personally walking up to you, introducing himself, and hand- deliver words that will change your life forever? It wouldn’t make much sense, the Chairman, as we understand them to be, is a single entity. Harry tells us that there aren’t that many people in the Bureau, the Bureau can’t be everywhere at once, so I assume the Chairman can’t be everywhere at once either, changing everyone’s life all the time. No, I think when we are told that “we have all met the Chairman at one point or another” Harry is telling us we have met with the will of the Chairman, who is coming to us each vicariously through the people around us. We haven’t all personally met the Chairman, instead I believe we have all met someone, sent under the influence by the Chairman, who has changed the course of lives. Everyone is the Chairman, just not all the time. We are the Chairman for the brief moment when the people around us need us to be the Chairman. Everything we do, every action, is met with someone else’s reaction, and this reaction is determining our next action, so at any point everyone is collectively influencing us in the same way as the Chairman might. So, the man in the park, the bartender, Elise’s friend (who I personally think was a manifestation of the Chairman) were all the Chairman, for all of the two or threes seconds they came into contact with David Norris, and they never had a clue.
    In Response top the second question “why was the book showed as blank space ahead for the two of them” I think the book is showed as blank because throughout the movie, when we see the book, it is all written out. It shows where Norris is, and where he is going to be in the near future, the points in the future are referred to as “decision points” and no matter what there is a plan, until the end. Until, the Chairman, at the very last minute changes everything, and now that the Chairman has allowed the plan to be altered there is no longer any plan set out for him, from that point on, Norris and Elise write their own plan, so the page is blank. Norris and Elise will now be the one’s who write their future, not the Burea. The page is blank because their

  9. Rebecca Cook
    5th Hour

    2. When Harry showed Norris and Elise the book and the fact that it was blank, I believe that the chairman purposefully made them as an exception. They had already defied the adjustments given to them, they would most likely defy them again. If he or she had given them a path, Norris would probably try to change it for the sake of his own freedom. The chairman is letting Norris and Elise make their own choices with free will which doesn’t exist there. I think that he believes they are worthy of it and won’t destroy humanity with it or whatever. It really shows the great faith that he put in them.

    4. Many people believe Harry to be the chairman because he was always on Norris’ side, goes out of his way to help him get Elise, and also somehow convince or show the chairman (or himself?) that they deserve their own path. However, I don’t believe he is the chairman. I don’t know who the chairman is, but, in my opinion, Harry just doesn’t fit the bill. I watch and read a lot of movies and books about this sort of topic, and in many there is a character just like Harry: a right-man, if you will. I think Harry is just one of those exceptions who despite going against rules, gain favor in the eyes of the chairman or whoever because he actually made a good choice. Like Castiel in Supernatural, he sides with the humans and defies orders but somehow comes up on top. He is proof that even angels or adjusters carry humanity inside of them.

  10. Adjustment Bureau Blog
    2. I think the blank space ahead meant that the chairman was giving them free will. Because the chairmen saw how they both were wiling to give up everything for each other he/she realized that they had earned, and deserved to have free will .Before when Thompson was explaining why humans didn’t have freewill he made it seem as though they couldn’t handle it and didn’t know what to do when they had it, which led to bad outcomes. But when Elise and Norris went against everything in order to be together the chairman realized that they could handle having freewill and would use it in a positive way (being together). The blank path shows that the chairman is no longer in control of their fate and that they can now do what they want.

    6. I think the whole point of this film is the viewer that free will is a gift that you have to fight for in order to have but in the end ultimately y are in charge of your destiny. When he says you have to fight for free will in order to know about it, this means that if you just go with the flow and never try to change the status quo then you live unaware of your power to change your future. On the other hand if you fight to live a life that you want instead of just going along with the way things are then you have realized that it is truly up to you to determine your own fate

  11. I’m going to answer just part of number 3. I was looking at some websites that explained the Adjustment Bureau when we first watched it, and I came across a website that talked about why the director didn’t make any female adjusters. He said that originally he was going to have Norris meet the chairman who was going to be a girl, so they wanted all male adjusters so the chairman was a surprise. But as he got filming the movie, the director changed his mind about Norris meeting the chairman and never changed the adjusters. I can’t decide who the chairman is; there are so many options. The lowest one on my list though is Harry. The only thing I can think of that would make Harry the chairman is how he “forgot” to wake up and spill Norris coffee. Also, when Norris was asking about his dad Harry made a comment (I don’t remember the exact words) “I didn’t do it and neither did the adjusters”. Just the way he said it seem like he was different from the adjusters. Another option could possibly be the bus driver. When Norris runs into Elise again on the bus the driver could have intervened to make that happen. My best guess is what most people agreed on in our class, which was Elise’s friend from the dance studio. In the first scene where Norris meets her she opens the door so he can see Elise dancing which ruins the adjusters plans. When she was with Elise at the courthouse she kept asking if she was okay and if this was the right decision. (I hope I’m not mixing up two different people). The most obvious one when Norris runs in to find her and the friend tells him where she is without asking any questions.

  12. 2. I think that in the end of the story when Harry tells Elise and Norris that the Chairman rewrote the plan, Elise and David were granted Free Will. In the book, the current position in life was marked by a dot in the middle of the page. Both to the right and left of the dot were lines that showed what decisions they made and what decisions they were supposed to make, but when Harry tells about the plan being re-written, there are no lines to the right of their dots. This means that there is no pre-determined path they must follow, but instead they were allowed to choose their own future (free-will).

    6. At the end of the film Harry says a pretty powerful quote. I think what he says is very similar to the rabbit fur analogy from Sophie's World. He starts by saying: "Most people live life on the path that we set for them to afraid to explore any other path." This applies to all the people dug into the rabbits fur. They are comfortable with were they are and are afraid to climb up the fur and see what if. Harry goes on to say: "Sometimes, someone like you comes along and knocks down the obstacles that we put in your way." And this applies to the people who are starting to climb the fur. They begin to see the light and want to explore their possible future Harry continues the speech and tells us that we need to understand that free will is a gift. This is for the people at the top of the fur. They understand the importance of deciding their lifes because they fought for it.

    The quote above mentions the reason for Norris and Elise's granting of free will. They finally learned that to make your own choices you must seriously consider the consequences. David would not be president and Elise would not become the famous dancer and choreographer that she dreamed to be. They were aware of this and proved that they would rather have love than career.

  13. My response is typed on my blog, however I've also included it in the link below.


    Leah Sherman

  14. 1. I have two ideas about who the Chairman could be. The first is Elise because she influenced and indirectly changed the course of his plan. After thinking about the possibility of the Chairman being Elise, however, it didn’t really fit. In the beginning it’s a conceivable idea because she is put in place by the adjusters continue his path to become a successful politician by inspiring his speech, but towards the end, when Norris is taking her through the different doors and trying to run away from the adjusters to be with her, she is way to confused about the doors and what’s going on for her to be the Chairman. The other person who was actually my first instinct was that the Chairman could be his deceased mother. On election night, he’s watching TV and the talk show hosts and guests are talking about how he was so young when he lost his entire family, while Thompson also says to Harry that he can’t imagine working on one person for so long (referring to David), maybe when his mom died, she became his Chairman and planned his life. Something else that made me think it could be his mother is that generally, mothers have a naturally guiding instinct over their kids, as does the Chairman and mom’s tend to watch out for the well-being and complete happiness of their children, trying to make sure they live full lives, which is the Chairman’s goal and biggest obstacle, filling Norris's life, and what to fulfill it with.

    6. I think that Harry’s passage at the end of the movie is directly linked to question number two, they go hand-in-hand almost, and the answer to number two is that the blank space ahead represents their new found and earned free will, that David and Elise have proven that they can make the right choices for themselves in order to live fulfilled lives, and that goes right into the message of the final passage in the movie, which I think is all about free will and making the right decisions. I think that Harry is trying to say that people need to make decisions, learn and progress from them, and if they do so, they will eventually make the right decisions. The idea is that you’ll never know how to make the right decisions for yourself if you are not so passionate about your choice that you’ll fight for it, and you’ll never know if you don’t take strong stands on things you believe in and fight to keep what makes you happy. I guess the real point is that you have to be passionate about the decisions you make in your life and only then will you truly exercise your free will. And finally, that maybe one day if everyone does that, ask questions, is curious, and is confident in their choices, every human will truly have exercised their free will.

  15. Jack Arvai 3rd hourOctober 4, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Jack Arvai
    3rd hour

    2. I think the blank space ahead of the two of them represents that they have no plan, in other words, they have free will. Now there is no track for them to be on, or to go off of and have to be adjusted. Now it is just them and whatever trail they decide to make, and these decisions are true free will, not the little things like what color tie to wear or what flavor of ice cream to get. Those little decisions just give the illusion of free will. It basically means they are limitless; they have so many possibilities of what they could shape their future into, like writing their plan as they go, changing it with every decision they make.

    6. I think the filmmaker’s message was for people to stop being so scared to go against the norms of society, like college, working a desk job (for money, not enjoyment), getting married, and having kids. He’s trying to say that whatever makes you happy, truly happy; you should pursue it and not let anything get in your way, and never settle. What I think he means with the last statement is that eventually, when everyone realizes the gift of free will, there will be no need for a plan to help guide all the people too scared to take control of their lives and no people that are so worried about society and everyone else that they never get a chance to do what makes them happy.

  16. Question #2:
    In the movie Harry shows his plan book to Norris and Elise before everything goes back to being somewhat normal, the book seems to update as soon as Norris and Elise see it and as soon as this happens the circuitry like background on the page stops and their two “paths” seem to float out into nothingness. I took this to mean that they weren’t just permanently off plan; the plan was rewritten without any set boundaries for our two main characters. This seems almost a little rash to me, if Norris and Elise are no longer part of the plan than they wouldn’t be able to have an effect on anything otherwise it would still affect the plans of other people. But if the two had the ability to “write their own plans”, or decide their own fate, then wouldn’t that mean that their ripples would cause unexpected changes in the plan, so either the “angels”, or adjusters, would have to constantly fix every little ripple that Norris and Elise make or the plan would have to change around the two. The first seems less likely, because they already have a hard time keeping tabs on everything. But there is the fact that until the very end you don’t see a lot of people who are definite adjusters on Earth, during the very end of the movie, when Norris and Elise are walking down a crowded street, you see them everywhere (though this might just be a sudden paranoia of anyone wearing a hat). The scene with Norris’ and Elise’s uncharted fate definitely signifies that they are now truly independent of an almighty guiding hand and can pick whichever life they wish to live.

    Question #6:
    Near the end of the film, when Harry confronts Norris and Elise in the Adjustment Bureau, Harry has a little monolog where he talks about how even though almost everyone is fairly submissive, just accepting that “shit happens”, a small few people decide to challenge their destiny because they want something different. The director sends a striking message with this short little statement. David didn’t accept what “life”, the bureau, threw at him; he even spent three years riding the same bus to find Elise again and when David left her for a third time, he eventually tried to see her again. David had to fight very hard to get control of his life back, very similar to rebels from soviet and communist countries, in a sense you never fully understand what you have, in this case a form of ultimate freedom, until it is taken from you. In this case most people never have control of their life but only seem like they do then try to fight for it once they realize they never were actually free in the first place, hence the bureau’s square one resets. Harry then talks about how the chairman, God, wants everyone to really appreciate their personal freedom and control, and that maybe, one day, human will control their own plan. Hopefully the director intended this on a personal level and not on a level similar to “improved” socialism or communism where the only difference is that our adjusters and chairman are oppressive humans. You would have almost a perfect big brother system. But I think the director intended the message to be received as a calling to try our hardest for our goals and dreams and even if life seems to get in the way, if we let that stop us we will never even be content, and that is when life sucks and you should decide to deal with it in one way, or another.

  17. #1 I think the chairman was the female bartender that served Elise and Norris. The film said that that chairman is someone random, someone you've met, but would never expect. That was probably their first and last time meeting that woman. While they were at the bar, the bartender gave Norris a note saying it was for him. I thought it was kind of weird because how would she even know he was going to come to that bar? She obviously knew it was in the "plan" for him to come there, and she nonchalantly gave him that note, a note that continued on Norris's fate of being seperated from Elise.

    #2 When Harry told Elise and Norris that the chairman rewrote the plan, the plan ahead of them was blank. The chairman infact did NOT rewrite the plan. There is no plan anymore. The chairman is letting them both control their own fate, which is the way it should be with humans anyway. He/she trusts them to make their own decisions, and no longer has to map out their every move for them. Harry made the chairman realize that keeping Elise and Norris apart is just morally wrong, and plus chance is keeping them together, so just let them be. They were meant to be together and the determination that Norris had to never be apart from her was never-ending and unstoppable. At least the chairman has a conscious.

  18. The movie The Adjustment bureau seems to be flawed in its occidentally centric view of the world, entirely ignoring the tragedies of most of the world in its seemingly one-sided view. Naturally this could be ascribed to his target audience in the film, Americans, some of whom believe themselves to be the center of the world. Also, there is a complete lack of female adjusters, which given their role as angels, or supposed angels, makes sense as most religions depict angels as neither male nor female, the perfect beings. Therefore, if the adjusters were angels, they could look however they wanted to look, only ascribing to a certain form for the sake of individuality. There is also another option, where our eyes cannot actually percieve their true form, and would instead be seing exactly what they want to see.
    Given Harry's final message, the film maker's message appears to be that while we have been given free will, we either let others decide for us and refuse to use it at all, as well as how much better it would be if all humans didn't have free will. One day we will be responsible and capable of choosing for ourselves, but until then we should just allow others to choose for us. This seems to me to be a sarcastic poke at the semmingly irresponsible actions of many adults and many children who are too scared to either take a chance or when they do and it fails they just give up and run away for the rest of their lives.

  19. 2. When they said they were able to be together, and the book showed the future was clear i think that there were two possibilities. These two possibilities are sort of inter twinded. My first idea is that they changed the plan and have deviated away from it. What this means is that the chair man can no longer see what is going to happen. My second idea is that maybe they now are taking control of their own future. They no longer are going to be told what will happen because they will make it happen. The way these are connected is that they both have to do with the chairman not knowing what will happen. Since the chairman doesnt know what will happen he cant have the adjustment bureau change everything and he cant control it. If he isnt controlling it then the rest of their life is up to them and the choices they make, aka free will.

    5. I am going to put myself in harrys shoes for this one. The main thing to understand here is that harry has been doing this adjusting for centuries. He has probably run into so many different people and changed so many different lives. Every single time he changes someones life, especially when he changes it against their will, it probably takes a toll on him. Now when we jump to Harry and Elise, we see that they obviously have love for eachother. They have been together, even though the plan says they shouldnt be, and he sees theres some bond. Obviously he doesn’t want to break this up, he has dealt with situations like this plenty of times and every time it is hard for him, but its his job. At least he thinks its just another job, until he finds out that they were originally supposed to be together. Now that he knows this he understands that Elise and Harry will always be drawn to eachother because they are soul mates. He sees how Harry risks everything for Elise and with all of his past guilt, he cant deal with this on his conscience. Knowing all of this it makes sense that he would get a guilty conscience, especially with Harry and Elise, because he realizes how unfair it is.

  20. Ryan Williams
    3rd Hour

    Adjustment Bureau Blog Questions
    1. I’m not 100% sure about who the Chairman actually is, but I do think David see the Chairman during the film. I think David had his experience with the Chairman before the time of the film. At first I thought it could have been David’s brother but when I think about it for a second that would be really illogical because that would mean the Chairman devoted himself to one person, David, for 10 years. Some people think the Chairman might have been pictured in the movie, but I totally disagree with that. I really didn’t feel like anyone in the movie could have been the Chairman. And one of our classmates said the Chairman was a girl, and no girls in the movie really stuck put as someone who could have drastically influenced either David or Elise.

    2. I think the blank space in both David and Elise’s books meant that they both have complete control over their futures. By this I mean they truly decide the future with no interference from the Chairman or his “Agents”. I think David and Elise were granted this “gift/privilege” of free will because they showed so determination in trying to be together even though it was against the plan. I think their determination; especially David’s, showed that they were willing to fight for their free will and really did know how to use it. One of the scenes that really stick in my head about David and Elise’s determination to be together and really gain free will is when Elise agrees to follow David back into the Substrate, when they’re at the Statue of Liberty. She basically risked her life just to be with him, and if I was the Chairman that alone would be enough for me to grant them free will for the rest of their lives.

  21. At just about the end of the movie, Harry told Norris and Elise that the Chairman had finally decided just to rewrite the plan for the two of them. Not that we can understand their “plan books” to begin with, but the space ahead of the two of them was completely blank, which had not been seen throughout the movie. I believe that the blank space shows the Chairman giving Norris and Elise free will. I believe that the Chairman almost gave up with trying to make the two of them do “the right thing” and maybe, like Harry, was a little caught up, surprised or even inspired with how persistent the two of them were. I think he has finally come to the understanding that the two of them will do anything for each other and that no matter what the “plan” has in store for them, now because of their love for each other will never have the same fulfilling feeling it would have before them met. In the end I think the Chairman decided that they are trust worthy enough to be given the gift of true free will.

    Norris was on a path of completely undermining what the “plan” had for him in order to be with Elise. Though, when Richardson brought up the fact that he is not only screwing up his own life by being with Elise he is also messing with the only other thing that Elise loves in the world, which is dance. Because of this ethical dilemma on the part of Norris, he decides to cut communication between Elise and himself in order for her to live the life he thinks she really wants. When Harry finds out about this, and sees how hurt Norris is, he starts to have doubts about the whole adjustment system. Harry sees how much Norris has lost in his life and even to him (even though he know it is for a common goal) feels badly about what Norris is forced to give up. I think it would be very hard for me to be able to see someone suffer, with the only thing to comfort me being that it is just part of the plan and will ultimately lead to a greater/different ending.

  22. 2. The blank space that was ahead of them meant complete free will. All the other books had these lines and paths, some with blue and red dots showing where they had to be and where they could not be. Since they had no lines, the had free will and could make decisions on their own without being adjusted. Though this does worry me a little bit because the only reason they liked each other was because of a little carry over from previous plans onto the new. Since they have no plan now, where did the carry over go. They might just start to not like each other and all that hassle went to waste, and they messed up a bunch of other people’s plans now.
    3. The reason that there were no women adjustors was because the chairman was supposed to be a women, therefore it would be a surprise. It’s not really a plot thing, the director had casted a women to play the role but he decided to cut it from the movie in the end. So that is the real reason, not a plot choice. He could not go back and shoot the whole movie, throwing a couple of women in. The movie was complete and the chairmen was supposed to be a woman. I think that the bureau was primarily focused the European and American parts was because the bureau was only made for that area. Either they had separate sectors to operate different regions, or the paths were only made for some people and all those people went to Europe because that was their path.

  23. Jacob Seid

    Personally, i thought that the chairman in the movie was not just one person that Norris and/or Elise saw. I believe that every person they encountered throughout their lives, especially in the video, were the chairman or really the chairman’s assistants. To be honest, now that i think about it, Norris and Elise, individually, are their own chairmans. If you think about it, the people that have effects on them throughout their lives help to shape their ideas and their beliefs thus altering their power in decision and ultimately, their free will. At the end of the movie, when they realize who they really are, what their individual purpose was (to each other) allowed them to ultimately be truly themselves and therefore making them their own individual chairman.
    I think that number 6 ties into number one. The fact that i think Norris and Elise were their own personal chairmen but were helped by important people, inspirational people, people who altered their thoughts on an every day, mundane basis, helped them achieve the high and mighty chairman position. I think the end message instills the same principle except it is implying it to the viewers of the video. Basically, it is saying that in your life, there will be people to tell you what to do, what to believe, how to feel and ultimately shape you how to live according to the plan that works best for them. It also implies that what you do, you have the choice to challenge what is being told to you. Obviously, if you were to do this, you would be breaking someone else’s plan. I think what the video quote wants us to know is that we need to look outside the plan of others by disagreeing with it or not doing whatever it is they tell you to do, and figure out what is the best rout for you. The act of doing this, although hard at times, ultimately makes you a person who is true to you-- a person who can follow their “personal legend” and is ultimately their own chairman.

  24. Oran Lieberman
    3rd Hour
    Question #2
    I think that when Harry showed David and Elise the blank space in the book it meant that there were no "confliction points". I believe that this means that when the chairman rewrote the plan that he meant for David and Elise to be together. And since they were meant to be together, there are no red dots in the book things they might do that would cause ripple effects. Lastly, this means that their paths could free flow their way to their final destination.

    Question #5
    I believe that being a member of the Adjustment Bureau would be extremely difficult. I chose this decision because these members have to make crucial life altering decisions to specific people everyday with out seeing the whole purpose of it. At times these decisions include taking the lives of loved to ensure that people will stay on the right course, also these members may also have to break up relationships and things of that sort. Since the members don't know the entire future of the world, it takes an emotional toll on them as they may feel connected to certain people and might believe that some are served an unfair life.

  25. 1. I think the whole point of the chairman was for the viewer not to know who it was. If it was someone that we saw in the movie then the director would give very obvious hints toward it. That being said, if I had to pick one person for the chairman to be, I would think it was Harry. Out of the whole adjustment bureau, he was the only one who did not simply act on orders and tried to do the right thing. This sets him apart to be better than the humans and angels.

    2. I think that the blank space in the book was pretty obvious. It meant that the chairman had decided that the world no longer had a plan and they were left to their own free will. This was because they proved that they can use free will in a positive manner, rather than negatively which is how they got it revoked. On a side note I thought it was funny that the book showed their paths going forward together side by side, proving that the book can still tell whats going to happen. If the movie were to be totally accurate, it would show just blankness1

  26. I am going to answer number 2 and 4. The answer to number 2 is I found it wired that there was a blank and that the chairman didn’t know what their path was. Then I thought to myself that the chairman knows what he is doing. Then I realized that in the beginning the “angles” sometimes didn’t have paths for everyone. I think that what it meant was that either the couple had a choice at how their future is going to be or it means that the chairman is just not going to write the couple’s path, the couple will write their own. And for number 4 I think that it is hard to decide who the chairman is but if I had to make a decision I would say that yes it is Harry because he is the nicest one of the “angles” and he had feelings. He was with Norris most of the time and he didn’t try to put an end to everything that Norris tried to do to be with Elise. I think that at the end you can kind of tell that Harry is not the chairman but Harry said that the chairman can come and watch anyone by becoming any shape or person. Harry was the one that questioned whether whatever the path was for the couple was it right. What the angles were doing was that right? No one ever questioned the chairman. So I believe that the person that could be best described as the chairman could be Harry.

  27. 4. I do believe that Harry is the chairman because when you think about it, he knew all of the information and answers to every big question that Norris had, first off. He was able to tell Norris about the plans of all of his family members in detail, showing that he was involved in the controlling of these things. Also, at the end when he says that their story/situation touched him and that’s the reason that the chairman decided to rewrite their plan, I believe that truly he was the chairman because he didn’t even attempt to specify who the chairman was and he didn’t ever seem extremely worried about the intense/risky situation that Norris was in because I feel like he knew that he had the power to manipulate Norris’ plan.
    6. I think that the film-maker’s message was that people need to not try to just go with the flow of life and not take risks because they assume that their fate is already predetermined; everyone needs to at least assume that they have the ultimate power to change their destiny no matter who may be controlling mankind. Even though God most likely determines everyone’s fate, if he finds a story touching enough (like Harry/ the chairman did) he will have the power to adjust the person’s fate to correspond what fate the human is trying to achieve. There’s no way to know whether or not we can determine our own fate, but trying can’t hurt us.


  28. 2. I think that the blank space ahead of Elise and David Norris meant that the Chairmen was--at least for the time being—going to let them decide their own paths and have freewill. They were both going to be “off-plan”.
    4. At first I was positive that Harry was the Chairman, but now I’m not as sure. If Harry was the Chairman, then it explains that he felt so many more emotions than the rest of the adjusters, and questioned the plan more than they did. It’s easy to second guess your decisions when you see that they’re making people sad. It also explains why he was not at all comforted when he talked to Richardson at the hospital and he told Harry that they only see a small part of the plan so of course it doesn’t always seem right. Harry did see the entire plan (because he wrote it) and still didn’t see the rightness of it. If Harry was the Chairman, than obviously he was worried about whether or not he was doing the right thing. I think that if Harry was the Chairman, then he hid it from the rest of the adjusters, which explains why he got sent to the Chairman’s office at the end of the movie. I guess it would make sense if Harry was the Chairman, but for some reason I feel confident that he’s not. It’s too easy of an answer.

    Rachel G.

  29. (1) At first I thought Norris and Elise were their own
    chairmen, but not I'm not so sure. In
    class we talked about the man stopping Norris from the bus and discussing his
    place in the upcoming election (the older man who I believe was wearing a grey
    suit); now I think that he was Norris' chairman. I was so focused on the part of the closing
    statement that states everybody has their own chairmen who all look different,
    I got swept away - but after reading the last two sentences in the quote below
    I feel like your chairman and yourself are different. I think that if we were to find out who
    Norris' chairman was we would have already seen him in the movie, just to
    promote the film-making side of things and to bring in more conversation,
    advertising, and money from watching the film. (6) I think the filmmaker's
    message is that you have to fight for something you want in life, where it be a
    grade, a job, a life-partner, or so on.
    If we just take how things happen for granted and assume we can never
    change them, then we won't achieve the goals we set for ourselves because we
    are not willing to change/work to get there.
    We have to realize that we can change things in order to start trying
    to, and once that happens we can determine our own fate rather than going with
    the flow, which could be how someone else decides (for example, the chairman)

    Elyse - no relation to the character in the film

  30. I think that the purpose of Harry’s statement at the end of the movie is about how free will in the movie is not really true but maybe someday it will be. I believe that the film makers included this to make us reflect on if we are in control of our lives or if someone else is. They are challenging us to go out and live our lives the how we want to, that we should be spontaneous, have fun, go crazy. We need to fully exercise our right to free will every day with every action that we do. Another aspect of this statement can be more directed towards children. When they are younger their parents or “adjusters” control what is going to happen but as they get older they are able to have more control over the choices they make and what they do. The gain their complete free will.

    I believe that harry is the chairman because he was the only one of the adjusters who felt bad about not allowing people to have their own free will. He was the only one who was regretful of not allowing David and Elise to be together. He also acted on this regret and helped David stop Elise’s wedding and Harry did not get in trouble for doing that. Also he was the one who told the two that there was a new plan and that they were going to be allowed to be together in it. The only reason that I am hesitant to fully believe that Harry is the chairman is because of how the other adjusters treated, that he made mistakes a lot and they would talk down to him. But maybe harry made all of his mistakes because since he is the chairman, he knew that David and Elise would end up together and that was part of the overall plan.

  31. 2. When harry told Noris and elise that the chairman had changed the plan and had left a blank space ahead for the two of them, I think he meant that since seeing how badly they fought to be together (and through trying so hard, they actually convinced the chairman to change the plan) the chairman was going to give them a chance to come up with their own future. I don't necessarily think that the chairman was going to give the two of them complete free will, but I think that he was going to trust them not to screw up their entire futures.

    4. No, I don't think that harry was the chairman. In fact, I doubt think harry could have been the chairman. Thinking in retrospect about some of the scenes in the movie, especially the ones with harry and richardson discussing the plan and how right it all was, I just don't think that those scenes would have made sense had harry been the chairman. For instance, the scene after norris and elise broke up for the third time and harry was discussing it with richardson. If he were the chairman, he wouldn't have had to ask the questions he asked. Another thing that made nge think against the idea that harry was the chairman was when harry was called into the chairmans office. Had harry been the chair man, he simply could have said that the chairman rewrote the plan if he wanted to hide the fact that he was the chairman. I just think there were to many holes in the plot to support harry being the chairman.

    Patrice B

  32. 2. When Harry said to Elise and Norris that the Chairman rewrote the plan, the book showed a blank space ahead for the two of them. What do you think that meant?

    I think it meant that the future is uncertain and should be written as life goes on, and not planned in advance. Because clearly, if the adjusters have to go through so much trouble to keep everyone "on track," rather than just letting everything happen naturally, then it isn't really part of the persons plan. It's the adjusters interpretation of the plan. Since Norris was one of the few people to find out about the adjusters, he tried everything in his power to change his "destiny" or what was written in the plan. Whoever the Chairman is, obviously gave up on trying to force Norris into doing things in his life he knew weren't right for him. Maybe the Chairman was wrong about Norris' plan? Or maybe that's a loophole in the whole idea of having adjusters rule your life? I think that by showing blank space in Norris' and Elise's plan, means that they are now in control of their own destines.

    5. Think about Harry's crisis of conscience when Elise and David broke up for the 3rd time (when he left her at the hospital), and he asked Richardson about the rightness of the plan. Put yourself in one of the adjusters' shoes and try to make sense of it all when you're only given part of the picture.

    Why Harry was assigned to Norris in the first place, I don't know. Nor do I know why he felt so passionately about letting him and Elise be together. Maybe it's because he was somehow involved with adjusting his father and mothers life? Regardless, once he had an emotional connection to Norris, he tried just as much as he did to let him and Elise be together. If I were an adjuster and only given part of the picture, I wouldn't know what to do. Although I don't understand how not being told everything about the person you're "adjusting" would help you"adjust" very well at all. Possibly to keep from growing an attachment? Once Harry grew an attachment to Norris, why wasn't he reassigned?

  33. 1. Who was the Chairman? Did Norris and / or Elise see the Chairman during the film or was it earlier in their lifetimes before the film ever began?

    I think that the chairman was Elise’s friend who came with her to the wedding. I think this because Harry said that the Chairman comes in all different forms and Elise’s friend was a girl/an unexpected form. The fact that she guided Norris to Elise who was in the bathroom makes me believe that she was the chairman. I think the Chairman likes going according to plan, but I think s/he doesn’t mind going off track every once in a while. I think that they saw they may have seen the chairman in their earlier lives, but I believe that they saw the chairman in the film as well.

    2. When Harry said to Elise and Norris that the Chairman rewrote the plan, the book showed a blank space ahead for the two of them. What do you think that meant?

    Usually the plan book shows red points (the people who’s plan it is) along with all these different lines coming off the points. These lines are the predetermined plans. These plans are what will happen. For Norris, his red dot and Elise’s red dot weren’t supposed to come into contact after she met Adrian. When the chairman rewrote the plan, the lines were gone and there was only blank space. Because Norris and Elise fought so hard for their future together, I believe that their predetermined futures were erased. The chairman erased their lines allowing them to create new ones.

  34. 2. I think the blank plan meant one of two things. Either (a) it meant that the plan was being changed, but no plan was set in stone as of yet, or (b) that Norris and Elise were given the gift of free will. Part of me likes the latter idea, but logically, I feel like, although Norris "inspired" the chairman, it wouldn't be enough to earn Norris his free will. The logical, sensible part of me believes in the idea that the Chairman agreed to rewrite the plan, and that it was being done as Harry showed it to Norris and Elise.

    5. I think the important thing to keep in mind is that the adjusters are not built to lead with their emotions, as humans are. However, I feel that, based on his appearance, that Harry is much younger/newer to the whole adjusting thing. Therefore, maybe he hasn't fully learned how to put his emotions aside? Also, it was established early in the film that Harry had been following Norris for quite some time. Is it at all possible that Harry developed an emotion connection to Norris after spending all this time seeing him have to give up the ones he love time after time after time?

  35. #2
    I think their plan was a blank space because the chairman left it blank on purpose for the two of them, so they can be with each other and plan the rest of their lives together. I think that the chairman knew that they loved each other and wanted to plan their life with each other which is why he left it blank because they got caught three times, while trying to be with each other which makes it so obvious. I think the chairman realized that no matter how many times you try to plan their lives, they would just ruin the plan that was made for them and try to be with each other, which is why he left it blank because he was done trying to force them go their own ways.

    I think that the film maker’s message was trying to show the audience that if you really want something then you should go for it and if you really want it, then you really should do whatever it takes. You might get in sorts of trouble on the way, but it’s worth it at the end. Imagine if you stop going after your dream, you would wish to redo that time where you had a chance to go get it. So if you truly want something then you should go after it right away, and don’t stop just keep going until you have it, then after you have hold on to it tight, because it was hard to get that wish or dream that you have chased. In the movie I think it showed that it takes to go after what you want and in the end they both got exactly what they wanted.


  36. Crystal Oropeza

    2. When Harry showed Elise and Norris the rewritten plan with a blank space ahead for the two of them I believe that meant they were free to make their own plans. It meant they have free will now and can make their life together the way they want, not the way the adjusters planned. They fought for what they wanted (each other) and they didn’t give up. The chairman realized that they really wanted to be together and didn’t care what their plans really were. The blank shows that there is no plan anymore, the chairman has turned the plan over to Norris and Elise, and they are free to make their own decisions together.

    6. “…People should realize that free will is a gift that you’ll never know how to use until you fight for it.” This line in Harry’s statement is very powerful to me. It is probably the most important line of that whole statement. It is saying everyone has the ability to do anything they want, as long as they fight for what they want and believe in. Therefore, I believe the filmmaker’s message is to keep fighting no matter what comes in your way. If you want something bad enough, then you will get it as long as you set your mind to it. Then, if you fight for what you want all the time, you won’t need a guide or “adjusters”; you’ll be able to choose things for yourself and the way you want it to be.

  37. Amber Williams 5th hour
    Question #1
    Who was the Chairman? Throughout the movie, I was very confused about this question. In class, we discussed that the Chair was Elise's friend that was at her wedding. When David came to look for Elise she right away told David before he even asked. It was also said in class that the filmmaker said that the Chair was a female. This throws off my opinion that the Chair was GOD. It was also said that the Chair was the guy on the street that called out to Norris or the bartender. I am not sure about who the chairman actually is. We do not know who the chairman actually is, all be know is that we have met this person at some point.
    Question #2
    When Harry shows Elise and David the changed plan, I think the end was blank because it means that there is nothing else planned for his future and he is able to do whatever he wants. I think since David and Elise actually had true feelings for each other, the chair was not going to try to force them not to be together anymore. David did not follow his original plan in order to be with Elise so the chair probably figured he would break the plan again. I think David and Elise will be able to write their own future together without somebody trying to get in the way of their love. I think the chair realized that their love is real and Davis and Elise will not destroy humanity because they are together.


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