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Top 10 Original Screenplays From The Last Decade

The world of cinema is a fascinating one, with more films being made today than ever before. Although the medium to consume film is constantly changing due to the recent addition of streaming platforms, it’s still a monumentally popular art form so many people are interested in.

Generally speaking, whenever a film expert or connoisseur discusses the subject of the best films ever made, and more specifically the best original screenplays, they tend to look at older films since they hold such an influential role over future films. As great as classic films are, the last decade has produced a number of phenomenal films that deserve just as much respect as any great film.

With this in mind, we’re going to discuss what we feel are ten of the best original screenplays from the last decade. Keep in mind, there are plenty of films from the last decade that could’ve made this list, these are just ten of the best that most people agree deserve to be on this list. Let’s take a look!

10. Her (2013)

Spike Jonze is primarily known for crafting a truly original script, and his 2013 film Her certainly falls under the category of unique. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams, Her is set in the near future, where a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.

Photo credit: NPR

9. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

Although many admire Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) for its excellent camera work due to it appearing as a single shot throughout its entire runtime, its dialogue is another layer worth noting in this magnificent film. Starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone, Birdman is about a washed-up superhero actor who attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.

Photo credit: Britannica

8. Lady Bird (2017)

For yet another film with the word bird in it, Lady Bird is a magnificent coming of age film by Greta Gerwig. Set in 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Tracy Letts.

Photo credit: Filmcomment

7. Get Out (2017)

Get Out took the world by storm in 2017 for being Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, and it lived up to the hype in every way. This jaw-dropping film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, and Bradley Whitford. The film tells the story of a young African-American who visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

Photo credit: Polygon

6. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Arguably Matthew McConaughey’s greatest performance in a film, Dallas Buyers Club also stars Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, both of whom put on an equally impressive performance as McConaughey. Set in 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is diagnosed with the disease.

Photo credit: The New York Times

5. The Lobster (2016)

Unprecedentedly unique films tend to always make a list like this, and The Lobster is certainly one of the best. Yorgos Lanthimos is an extraordinary filmmaker, and the film stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and Jessica Barden. Set in a near dystopian future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

Photo credit: Vanity Fair

4. Django Unchained (2012)

What’s the point of a best original screenplay without a Quentin Tarantino film? Starring an all-star cast of Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, and Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained follows Django, a freed slave who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal plantation owner in Mississippi.

Photo credit: NPR

3. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Wes Anderson is yet another filmmaker who has a particular style that sets him apart from everyone else. Although Anderson has multiple excellent films from the last decade, Moonrise Kingdom is arguably his best. Starring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, and Edward Norton, this film tells the story of a pair of young lovers who flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.

Photo credit: Time Out

2. Inside Out (2015)

It’s a shame animated films don’t get as much love as they deserve, although that seems to be changing as of late, largely thanks to the incredible films from Pixar. Starring Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, and Lewis Black, Inside Out is about young Riley who is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

Photo credit: The New York Times

1. Parasite (2019)

Parasite took the Academy Awards by storm in 2019 by winning six different awards, including best original screenplay. Starring Kang-ho Song, Lee Sun-Kyun, and Cho Yeo-Jeong, Parasite focuses on greed and class discrimination which threatens the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

Photo credit: Asia Times


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