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Three Films that Explore Free Will

How free am I? How does God's sovereignty interact with our free will? Do we even have free will or is our life's course determined by God or by other forces beyond our control?

If you're a film-goer, you may be able to think of a number of big-screen characters who've struggled with these questions. First, there was Truman Burbank, played by Jim Carrey. The Truman Show told the story of his dawning realization that his entire life—including his job, house, marriage, neighborhood, friends—was constructed and orchestrated by TV producers who had turned his entire existence into a reality TV show viewed by millions of people around the world. When the penny finally drops, his mind is sent into turmoil and he becomes desperate to try to escape his phony existence.

Then there was Neo, in The Matrix, famously swallowing the red pill and having his eyes opened to the reality that all human experience was just simulated reality. The truth was that human beings were simply an energy source for the machines which held them in slavery. Neo made it his quest to fight for freedom against these machines.

A third film, The Adjustment Bureau saw Congressman David Norris (played by Matt Damon) bristling at the idea that his relationship with the only woman he has ever really loved must be ended because it's not part of the predetermined "plan" for his life. He won't stand for it and promptly decides to fight this destiny using nothing but the brute force of his own love-struck willpower.

These are just a few of the films that explore issues of human freedom and determination. That it is such a common subject only serves to underline how deeply such themes resonate with us. The thought of being mere puppets in someone else's show, or pawns being moved around some great chessboard, is an outrage to us.

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