Preview of 'The Adjustment Bureau' fosters conversation


College students love when things are free.

DePauw students made their way to Ashley Square Theater Wednesday night to see a free preview of the film "The Adjustment Bureau." Unlike most things labeled "free," however, this viewing included a philosophical discussion.

Grace Hill Media provided the showing in order to receive feedback from college students, which is a demographic the company believes will be out in large numbers to see the film. The screening representative — who asked that his name not be published so he can serve as a neutral individual receiving honest commentary — explained that the audience's observations and opinions on the film often predict how the film will be received nationally.

"We need reactions, comments, we need to know if these guys like it because that helps us prepare for the overall spectrum of reactions we'll get when it's released Friday," he said.

The overall reaction to the film was positive, though many sought a less "Hollywood" style ending. Senior film studies major Emily Neumann said the film posed valuable questions, but she felt disappointed by the happy ending she anticipated from early on in the movie. The discussion on philosophical themes after the movie, on the other hand, was not what Neumann expected.

"The discussion that came out of it tonight was really interesting and it addressed some of the issues that the movie didn't fully delve into," Neumann said.

The screening representative also appreciated the discussion that followed; they said it was the first time in their career that such a conversation had been planned following an early showing.

"I've never been to a screening where they've had a discussion afterwards," he said. "I think it's great that they're doing it, it really gets you thinking, which is good for me because when they get all into the serious philosophical side I can listen and say O.K. and write it all down."

Junior Alex Thompson, a columnist for The DePauw, said he found the conversation very valuable, but also very rare as students infrequently voice their opinions the way they did during the discussion.

"The discussion was better than almost any class discussion I've had, [we] were talking about how people don't speak up in class like this for some reason," Thompson said. "You go into a classroom and you know immediately that 80 percent of them aren't going to talk the entire semester. People were really looking for answers."

As the group of about 15 remaining students sat in the theater and discussed the parts of the movie they found most interesting from a philosophical perspective, the looks of genuine interest and deep thought displayed that they had gotten their money's worth.