Fate vs. choice. Free will vs. predestination. Human decision vs. divine destiny.
For millennia, humankind has wrestled with these competing notions of how much freedom we really have to determine our own ends. Do our decisions matter? Or are they somehow scripted for us? Or is it all just up to chance in the end?
While these questions have animated many a theological debate, they don’t keep David Norris up at night. The youngest-ever New York state representative is on the brink of winning his first senatorial contest. And as far as he’s concerned, his fate is firmly in his own hands. After all, that’s the message he idealistically delivers to voters: “Your future is about your choices,” he says in a stump speech. “Not theirs.”
When an embarrassing photo of a bawdy college stunt sabotages David’s campaign, however, the future he’s always envisioned seems in doubt. Until, that is, a random encounter with a beautiful woman named Elise.
A chance moment of serendipity?
David soon learns, much to his dismay, that his future has very little to do with his choices. Instead, his fate has been decreed by someone with the faintly ominous title of The Chairman. And The Chairman has The Plan. And serving the interests of The Plan are a group of scowling, fedora-wearing, vaguely J. Edgar Hooverian agents—members of The Adjustment Bureau.
Their job? Make sure no one drifts too far from The Plan.
But David is something of a problem child when it comes to submitting to plans. He struggles to submit to his own plans, let alone anyone else’s. And in the wake of meeting Elise, plans are the least of his concern. Feelings are what matter to him now.
There’s only one problem: In The Plan, David was only supposed to bump into Elise one time, an exposure designed to give his course a slight adjustment. The Plan wasn’t for him to fall in love with her. But when he sees Elise again on a bus, The Plan gets lobbed out the window.
And The Adjustment Bureau is none too happy about that.