Friday, January 9, 2015

Blog #66 - Adjustment Bureau questions

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? (Do you buy my idea that it was the guy that said hi to Norris on the street after the second time Norris and Elise meet?)
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. Kids in past classes have 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 Tuesday, January 13 before class begins. 
250 word minimum.  Thanks. 

17 comments:

  1. Grace MacDonald
    The chairman was the Adjustment Bureau’s version of the civilians’ God. The chairman changes and creates the plan each person has, like Christians’ God. The Bureau does what they can to guide their subjects back on track in accordance to the plan. Norris and Elise saw the Chairman in the film I think when they were walking on the street and a man said hi to them because he was able to get a sense of how Norris treated people and what he was like other than from a bird’s eye view of his life. They have met him but, of course, don’t know who he is because only the angels, or in this case, the workmen in the Bureau interacted with Norris. They fulfill the Chairman’s and Plan’s wishes and paths.
    When the Chairman wrote the plan, the book showed a blank space to signify the free will that both Norris and Elise have now created for themselves. The blank space appeared after Norris and Elise’s plan ended because they were at first bound by the plan. They found a way to change the plan of free will and the blank space enables them to be freed from the plan. I think that meant freedom to make their own choices and choose the ways they take in life. The Chairman saw their love and strength for each other and is now allowing the plan to be blank for them to make their own. I am not sure why he’d make an exception for just Norris and Elise, but assume he has done that for other people as well.

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  2. 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 means?

    This blank space ahead of them tells me that the real chairman of Norris’ and Elise’s lives are themselves. Maybe the chairman was a guide and had a slight hand in the events of their lives but his ultimate goal in everyone’s life is to help them become their own chairman and to write a safe and free-willed future for themselves. I feel as though the moral of this story is to take fate into your own hands and not wait for things to fall into place and deal with the results. ‘Write your own story’ is what I take out of the scene when Harry showed Norris and Elise a blank space ahead of them. Norris and Elise broke out of the chairman’s control and took their lives into their own hands and were able to write the book’s ending however they want to. If the movie was to follow the lives of others and not just Norris and Elise, I believe that we would find that everyone has the potential to write their own future whether they actually do or not.

    4. Is Harry the Chairman? Why or Why Not?

    No I don’t think Harry is the Chairman. For some reason I feel as though the actual Chairman wouldn’t lie to someone who asked him directly if he is the chairman or not. If the chairman allowed himself to potentially be exposed to a human in the first place to me it makes sense that he wouldn’t mind if that particular human knew of his true identity. I have no real reason as to why I feel this way, maybe it’s just out of unreasonable hope and faith in the goodness of this ‘chairman’ but I can’t see the Chairman lying to a human. Maybe if the chairman really didn’t want a human to know who he is he would have some way of preventing that human from ever finding out in the first place or wiping that humans memory after telling him. I know it’s contradictory and honestly just pointless for the chairman to tell someone something if he is going to wipe their memory of it later but I can, for some reason, see that happening over the chairman lying to someone who asks directly. So when Norris asked Harry on the rooftop if Harry was the chairman and Harry laughed and said no, I think he was telling the truth. Harry is simply an adjuster who questions the morals of his orders unlike most of his colleagues.

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  3. Harry’s crisis of conscience when Elise and David broke up for the third time at the hospital revealed the kind of self-doubt that many of us feel when we’re told to do something we’re not sure about. Although the Adjustment Bureau is supposed to be an all-knowing organization with little black books filled with plans, at that moment, Harry was experiencing the human struggle everyone has when something happens and we wonder if it is all part of a grander plan. Like we discussed in class today, when something bad happens, religious leaders often say that it is all part of a plan that we just can’t understand. For most people dealing with crisis, this isn’t a satisfactory answer. It wasn’t for Harry either. Harry instead took matters into his own hands to help Norris get to Ellis. This also goes with the statement made at the end of the movie by Harry. I assume it wasn’t part of the plan for Harry to ignore the Chairman and help Norris disobey the plan – but he did anyway. Although it seems like this statement is directed at Norris and Elise, and people in general, Harry actually took his own advice by taking fate into his own hands. Norris fought fate valiantly, but it was only through Harry’s act of defiance by giving up his hat and directing Norris through the maps, that Norris made his way to Elise. The statement at the end of the movie shows the filmmaker’s message that although there is a course you can take, and it may very well be the easier one, when you have the opportunity to choose for yourself, it is your responsibility to make that choice.

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  4. I think there is a really good chance Harry is indeed Chairman. At the beginning of the movie we believed that Harry messed up one of the Chairman’s demands, instead I believe that it was Harry’s intension to mess up the plan and have Norris walk into work and see the adjustment. Harry would have gone to greater lengths and used more of his power to stop the bus. I believe that Harry knows that every person has a “set plan” for their life but believes that if you want something so bad and fight for it, free will can shape the rest of your life. Harry seems to know every trick in the Chairman’s book and knows how to direct David in a path so he won’t get caught. David beat all of his obstacles that there was nothing else standing between him and his free will. When he finally reached the last level of the Adjustment Bureau's facility, he found himself, with nowhere else to go. There were no more floors to climb. He finally achieved free will, and met himself for the first time. He knew what he wanted and did everything in his power to have Elise. Going along with Harry’s quote at the end of the movie, the filmmaker is trying to send the message that everyone has the potential to do whatever he or she wants with their life, it just depends on if they are willing to take the risk. I presume that Harry agreed with this point of view and I also believe that in the end you are your own Chairman.

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  5. Question 1- I do not believe that David and Elise came into contact with the chairman. The chairman, as we believe is God. However, my personal belief is that God does not interfere with human activity. I believe God is in the Sky. If you are on an airplane and look out into the world, everything will seem amazing. There will appear to be no pain or suffrage. I believe God is unaware of these catastrophes. Because of this, I believe God had no part in the death of David’s family. I do believe that that shaped him to be the main he became later on. Since I do not believe God directly interferes with human activity it is hard to find a person in this film that I believe is the “chairman.” If I were to pick, however, I would say that the chairman was a Chief editor of a newspaper. Now, you may say “what the heck are you talking about jer,” but in multiple scenes it showed newspapers. Featured on the paper were stories of Norris’s career and Elise’s career going in the path the chairman had set up for them.
    Question 4- Harry, my man, is not the chairman. Harry had too many human qualities to him. The other adjusters showed no feelings or no signs of humanity. In one scene, one that changed the paths for David and Elise, Harry was seen napping. The other adjusters showed no signs of fatigue. Harry helped David get Elise, showing that he felt emotion and love. No other adjusters showed feelings. If anything, Harry is a favorite of the Chairman. That might not make sense but I believe Harry is an angle disguised as an adjuster. I believe the chairman put Harry into a role of an adjuster in order to help the humans. This was the chairman could indirectly connect with the humans.

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  6. 2. When the book showed a blank space to where Norris and Elise’s ‘plans’ should have been I think that meant that they broke free from the control of the bureau. The whole movie centered around the different aspects of life, and how it was made up of both fate and coincidence (fate being the bureau, and coincidence being free will). By showing a blank page to symbolize the rest of their lives, it was telling the audience that fate no longer had control over their lives. Norris and Elise, by choosing the path of coincidence, were no longer tied by the bureau’s rules, fate itself.
    4. I would think that Harry is not the Chairman. If he was, then my question would be why is he working so low on the chain in the first place? And why on Norris specifically? It had been specified that Harry had been adjusting Norris’s life from when he was a child, so to me I would find it strange that the Chairman would spend so much time on one individual just to wait for him to deviate from the plan. If he were the Chairman, why would he express doubt instead of changing the entire system that he himself had formed? If one puts these ideas into consideration, I find it hard to see Harry as the chairman. Instead, I would see him/her as someone who has less of a significance on the way of things, someone who sits back and watches.

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  7. Jenna Weed

    1. I think the filmmaker was trying to instill the point that in this life, we have a choice to make: we either concede to the plan or fate awarded to us, whether it is created by a higher “Chairman” or God, or, with a little bit of perseverance, confidence, and sheer luck, we can fight against fate’s obstacles for the life that we intend to lead. The latter is a much more challenging yet much more fulfilling path. Harry was saying that once humans realize the power they have to fight for their desires, not concede or be wishy-washy, or give in to other people, the “Adjustment Bureau” will no longer have jobs to fulfill and the plan will be written not by the Chairman but by the people themselves. I believe the filmmaker was like Harry and valued free will over fate: “free will is a gift that you’ll never know how to use until you fight for it”; they both are showing that we humans have the power to lead the life we want to lead, as long as we are willing to overcome challenges and be responsible for that power.
    2. When Harry said to Elise and Norris that the Chairman rewrote the plan, I was captivated by the new “plan” being inscribed in the book. It just displayed two dots moving toward each other and heading off together to the right with no path – just moving together. I think this means that by the Chairman “rewriting” their plans, instead he erased the intended separation between them and gave them ultimate free will to design and write their own plans. He gave them the power to live their lives together, which was prevented by the Adjustment Bureau throughout the movie, and essentially took the power away from the Adjustment Bureau to ever interfere with Norris or Elise’s lives, as they have been gifted with a blank book to write the story of their lives.


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  8. #1: I believe that the "Chairman" is a higher power, in the case of my religious beliefs it would be God, but in a Muslim person's case it might be Allah. That's part of what I think they mean in the movie when they say he comes in different forms to different people. I also believe because he is "the man upstairs" he must be universally powerful, making it possible for him to be in more than one place at a time, hence how he can be seen in disguise on Earth. I believe that he may have appeared in their lives before the film and during, considering the "Chairman" may check up on you more than once in your life. He may have been the man you referred to during the discussion, but it's hard to tell.
    #3: I believe that the Adjustment Bureau had no female adjusters solely for the film's image of a "men in black"-unison vibe. By having women as adjusters as well it would throw off the balance of perfectly coordinated suits (making skirts, women's pants etc.). There also weren't any obese people (angels) as adjusters because it would mess up the image of skinny, sleek business men. And again with the bias remarks, it was solely for the purpose of relating itself to the character, maybe if Norris had been a foreigner, the adjusters would have said something completely different to get him to comply.
    Great movie! I was surprised philosophy can be found in so many aspects of our daily life.

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  9. 2. I think when Harry showed the blank book to David and Elise, it meant exactly what it was. It was a blank book, meaning that David and Elise were free from the selected paths of the Adjustment Bureau. They were free to create their own path, because like Harry said at the end, they had fought for the right to create their own plan and do whatever they wanted together.
    5. I think that Harry was right to feel the way he did and I feel that he was justified for his actions. It must’ve been challenging for Harry and the other Adjusters who had to constantly keep an eye on and prevent David and Elise from meeting. The Bureau probably doesn’t have to worry about everybody staying on path because I bet that there were a lot of people who didn’t even know that the Bureau existed.
    However in Harry’s case, things must’ve been different. He mentioned earlier in the movie how he was feeling “tired” of it all. He was probably feeling like every other minor, unimportant employee at a major, important company. He had his bosses Richardson and Thompson constantly giving him orders and criticizing him, he was mentally unprepared (falling asleep in the park), and had the belligerent Norris running around preventing him from doing his job. So I can see why he was tired and frustrated of the whole thing. Also, I think that Harry simply had a sympathetic and more caring character than any of his colleagues. He wanted Elise and David to stick to the plan, but he realized just how happy they were together, and what Elise meant to David, so that’s why he was willing to help out David and save him.

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  10. 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 the blank space represented their future and their freedom to finally create one together, however they please. The future was left blank because Norris and Elise finally could be together without it harming their careers, holding them back from their ambitions. There was no longer a sign that warned them that Norris would never be president and Elise would never be a world famous dancer if they were together. Since David and Elise’s futures were now in sync they both have the ability to achieve success and greatness. The Chairman rewrote their future, leaving it open so that they could both have the opportunity succeed and benefit one another, rather than holding one another back in the pursuit of fulfilling their full-potential.
    4. Is Harry the Chairman? Why or why not?
    • I don’t believe that Harry was the Chairman. He seemed to be too unsure with the actual effectiveness of the “plans” to be the one creating them. There were times were he doubted the plans, and he actually went against what the Chairman believes when he gave Norris his hat, resulting in Norris having the ability to walk through the doors. There is a possibility that Harry just acted naïve and emotional as a front, protecting his identity of being Chairman but I doubt that was the actual case.

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  11. . 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? (Do you buy my idea that it was the guy that said hi to Norris on the street after the second time Norris and Elise meet?)
    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?

    1.I think the chariman was themselves. If David wanted to so badly be with Elise and she wanted that as well then I think they had to rewrrite their own plan. David was torn apart from her tthree times and I think he decided to not care and go after her and ended up rewriting his plan. Harry told them that their plan was rewritten and that they were meant to be together.

    2. When Harry said that there plan was rewritten and there was a blank, i think that means their is no planed future with those two together. They must make their own and the lines and the bureau will soon come into play I do think that they have a definite plan and it is totally up to them. Free will take over and David and Elise can do whatever they want.

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  12. 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 what that mean was that, unlike everyone else in the world, Elise and Norris were destined to be together from the very beginning, and because Norris was aware of the adjustment bureau he was capable of free will and what he did with his free will was entirely left up to him hence the blank space. Because in some ways Norris had already written, lets call them pages, of his own book he had become the master of his own destiny. I think Harry saw this and had the trust in mankind to allow Norris to continue his life with free will. As for Elise her destiny had become intertwined with Norris' so the rest of her book had been left blank as well.

    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? (Do you buy my idea that it was the guy that said hi to Norris on the street after the second time Norris and Elise meet?)

    I think that there are people who's destinies are controlled by what the chairman writes and others who can write their own book, and become their own chairmen. This being said along with what I said in my answer to the second question I guess you could say that because Norris wrote his own fate once aware of the bureau that he almost in a way was his own chairman. Almost as if when he exited the cave and saw the light there was no cave to come back to.

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  13. (sorry for this being late, I forgot to hit publish yesterday)

    1.
    I believe that in the movie, when Norris and Elise went dancing at that club place, that that is where they saw the Chairman. To be honest, besides plot progression, I was thinking that there was really no reason for them to go to that place. When they are there, a lot of different people go up to Norris and say hello. I definitely feel that the Chairman was one of those people. It seems like the Chairman would be someone random in the movie, not drawing any attention to themselves, and only there for the sole purpose of observing their work and Norris and Elise’s progress. I feel that the dance scene place was there for two reasons. First off, I feel that the Chairman was there to observe their progress, and second of all, I think he was there (and all those other people who kept saying hi to Norris were there) to interfere with him and Elise. Overall I am not sure how necessary the scene was, but I do think that the Chairman was there.


    2.
    To be honest, I think the blank space ahead symbolizes that Norris and Elise have a world of free will ahead of them. Throughout the movie, one can see how there isn’t free will necessarily, and Norris is trying to fight this way intensely. Towards the end though, when Norris and Elise are officially together and Harry shows them the book, and the blank space is shown, it almost looked like a path was created into the blank space. I think this means something. I think it meant that Norris and Elise are now controlling their own lives, and they live a life of (real) choices, free will and important decisions that they get to make.

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  14. 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 the Chairman went as far as to write them back into each other’s lives. The book was partially blank because the only plan that they needed was to be allowed to be together, everything else would fall into place. Maybe this is just me being a hopeless romantic, and a sucker for happy endings, but I’d like to believe that he did eventually become President and Elise did end up becoming that world renowned dancer and choreographer. I think that this was made possible because those things were in their plans all along. They had the potential and greatness to be those things but the chairmen/adjusters thought that they would hinder each other from them reaching their full potential. The fact that they were willing to fight and rick it all for one another showed the chairmen/adjusters that maybe their love would only push them forward and increase their drive and they would support each other to reach their full potentials.
    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.”

    I think that the filmmaker was trying to say that people should not fear their own destiny. We all have purposes in life and we should not shy away from them just because we’re scared or they are out of our “comfort-zones”. It also speaks volumes to what a little (or a lot) of determination will do. I don’t I think that God does have a plan for us. He knows our greatness and believes in us way before and way more than we do. God knows what heights that we can reach and he sets us on the track of doing so. Religion sometimes can make one feel that they should follow blindly and I think that because God is all knowing and all powerful we should. But sometimes, I think that God is testing us. He puts obstacles and tribulation in our lives to see if we will run away scared or stand strong and face the tough times in life. I think that once we whether the storm, God may reward us will the free will to choose something that we want. He will write our desires into his plan and our lives will go off without a hitch. Until we are tested again, to see If we can handle even more responsibility.
    Annie

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  15. 3. Kids in past classes have 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.


    I don’t think there were any female adjusters because maybe the maker of the movie was sexist and didn’t think that a woman would be threatening enough for the bold scary parts on the adjuster. Or another idea is that the Chairman is a woman and likes to surround herself and boss around the men since they’d been the “dominate” gender of mankind for most of humanities existence. Another possibility is that maybe they’re the adjusters for the human’s adjusters and they keep then men in line. They just let the bureau think that they’re the ones who actually control everything when they’re just puppets playing with puppets.

    4. Is Harry the Chairman? Why or why not?

    I don’t think Harry’s the chairman because if he was he could have just changed the order when he wanted to help David instead of running around like a madman through all the doors. He also wouldn’t had fallen asleep when he needed to make the coffee spill and if he was then how come harry was doing the grunt work at the park? A leader doesn’t do ground work they focus on how the people on the ground should be working. Why would that one person be so special before anything big happened?

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  16. Lilly Havis
    2. When the book showed a blank space ahead for Elise and Norris, I think that meant that the Chairman decided that the two of them were given free will for the rest of their lives, and that the Adjustment Bureau would no longer have a plan for them, meaning that they create their own fate. I think the Chairman decided to do this because he/she felt as though they had earned it, because of how strong their love was and also how hard they fought through the numerous obstacles that the bureau put in their way to try to separate them.

    6. Based on Harry’s statement at the end of the movie, I think the filmmaker’s message was to fight for what you believe in or strive for, and not to quit as soon as an obstacle comes your way. If you really want something, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, then you create your own fate. If you just kind of go with the flow and let life take you wherever it does, then you’re fate is being written for you. Being in control of one’s own fate is not easy, it involves a lot of obstacles and struggle. But I believe that the filmmaker is telling us that that’s what makes it all worth it. Though the Adjustment Bureau and the Chairman are most likely not real, the idea of making your own fate versus just riding the wave of life definitely is.

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  17. Lilly Havis
    2. When the book showed a blank space ahead for Elise and Norris, I think that meant that the Chairman decided that the two of them were given free will for the rest of their lives, and that the Adjustment Bureau would no longer have a plan for them, meaning that they create their own fate. I think the Chairman decided to do this because he/she felt as though they had earned it, because of how strong their love was and also how hard they fought through the numerous obstacles that the bureau put in their way to try to separate them.

    6. Based on Harry’s statement at the end of the movie, I think the filmmaker’s message was to fight for what you believe in or strive for, and not to quit as soon as an obstacle comes your way. If you really want something, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, then you create your own fate. If you just kind of go with the flow and let life take you wherever it does, then you’re fate is being written for you. Being in control of one’s own fate is not easy, it involves a lot of obstacles and struggle. But I believe that the filmmaker is telling us that that’s what makes it all worth it. Though the Adjustment Bureau and the Chairman are most likely not real, the idea of making your own fate versus just riding the wave of life definitely is.

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