Is 'The Adjustment Bureau' religious?

If you've seen the film, the answer seems like a resounding yes. It's about a secret group of beings who intervene in the fate of mankind whenever we all are about to become too self-destructive. These beings do so at the behest of an unseen, undescribed higher-up dubbed The Chairman.

That seems a blatant allegory for God, angels and the importance of free will, no? It certainly doesn't hurt that at one point in the film Matt Damon's character asks Anthony Mackie's point blank if he's an angel, only to be met with a non-committal answer along the lines of "We've had many names over the years ..." But considering all of the evidence, is 'The Adjustment Bureau' actually religious?

It's certainly not hard to interpret the film strictly as a piece of science-fiction. There exists a race of beings that, for entirely unknown reasons, keeps a watchful eye on mankind, monitoring our free-will decisions and ever so slightly stepping in when we need nudging away from the worst possible path. Ultimately their motivations really don't matter, either; it could be a 'Dark City' situation wherein they want to learn what makes us human, or it could be a completely different set of conditions and their race is simply fascinated by ours.

The story could be interpreted any number of different ways, all free of our traditional concepts of religion. But 'The Adjustment Bureau' could also be taken quite plainly as a story of mankind in the guard of angels at the request of a nurturing God.

The thing is, I actually don't have that much of a religious background. Beyond the broad themes, I don't have the religious knowledge base to pick out specific references to belief systems, be it Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islamism or any other variant of theological devotion.

And that's where this Monday Morning Discussion post comes in. What am I (or someone like me) missing in 'The Adjustment Bureau' that makes it specifically religious? Are there subtle scriptural references that I'm not picking up on? Is there a reason that all of the adjustment team members are men? (Seriously, what's up with that?)

So, if you have any answers or theories that directly connect George Nolfi's film to a religion of any kind, please share them below. We'd love to hear your take on the material.
The Adjustment Bureau
Based on 41 critics

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