5. True Grit - Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
The Coen Brothers consistently bring great writing to the screen. "True Grit" is not only rife with great period language and dialogue but it's also chock full with great characters and trademark Coen Brothers humor. Not to mention the perfect structure.
4. Winter's Bone - Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
Similarly to "True Grit", "Winter's Bone" is full of colloquial dialogue and terminology which is an accomplishment on its own. But the script's greatest accomplishment is its minimalist structure which allows the emotional shocks in the arc to stand out shockingly and perfectly.
3. Rabbit Hole - David Lindsay-Abaire
Grief is such a difficult theme for the movies to get right - but "Rabbit Hole" is pretty much perfect. Lindsay-Abaire never lets his characters wallow in their situati
on, instead treating them like the real people that they are. The script also finds unexpected humor that makes the emotional parts so much more painful. The seamless transition from stage to screen is also a great accomplishment.
2. Scott Pilgrim VS The World - Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright
It's no easy feat to get a successful, memorable one-liner into a screenplay. However, Bacall and Wright were able to make almost every single line in "Scott Pilgrim" into one that you can quote innumerable times after the credits roll. However, the quirky and amazingly funny dialogue is just the icing on the cake that is the simple, adorable and timeless story of a boy who will do anything to be with the girl he loves.
1. The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin
There's not much I can say about this script that hasn't already been said - the dialogue is brilliant, the characters are fantastically fleshed out and the structure is simply perfect. Sorkin's script will assure this film's status as an instant classic.
Honorable Mentions: "127 Hours"'s screenplay balances Ralston in and out of the pit perfectly; "How to Train Your Dragon" might be a bit cliche but it still never takes the easy way out.
5. The Kids Are All Right - Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
Cholodenko and Blumberg craft a touching, creative and unique portrait of an alternative family, perhaps most effectively by treating them like any other family. Not to mention that the film is so funny.
4. The King's Speech - David Seidler
David Seidler's captivating screenplay is just another one of the reasons that "The King's Speech" defies some of the convention that it could have easily fallen into. Seidler humanizes each character and never loses an opportunity for humor, pathos or an appropriately timed zinger of dialogue.
3. Please Give - Nicole Holofcener
"Please Give" could so easily have come off annoying or too quirky for its own good. However, Holofcener's genius script avoids these possible pitfalls by thoroughly developing and shaping each character so well, and never losing anyone's plotline in this truly ensemble film. The dialogue is impeccably funny and smart, and the sensitive heart at the film's center is unflinchingly real.
2. Animal Kingdom - David Michod
Obviously my favorite thing about "Animal Kingdom" is Jacki Weaver but had David Michod not crafted such a fascinating, layered, and complex screenplay for her to work with, "Animal Kingdom" would not have been as successful or as fantastic as it was. Michod's crime drama tackles so many themes with passionate energy and underneath it all is a fantastic and rare emotional core.
1. Dogtooth - Giorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Based purely on creativity, "Dogtooth" is already one of the best films of the year. But not only does it have a ridiculously interesting concept, it totally delivers on that concept without ever alienating the viewer. Lanthimos and Filippou's bizarre (in the best sense of the word) work succeeds as satire, horror, and family relationship drama equally well and will surely last the test of time.
Honorable Mentions: "Greenberg" is so well written and it just nearly missed the top 5, but even the film's nearly unlikeable characters are portrayed so sympathetically; "Toy Story 3" relies on the first two films for a lot but it's still an original and creative piece of work with the perfect ending; "Solitary Man" has some amazing dialogue, along with some really interesting characters; I know a lot of people despise it and even though it really seems inconsequential, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" is still a really well-written and funny piece by Allen; "Morning Glory" is more adorable, funny and emotionally engrossing than it had any right to be thanks to its screenplay.