101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far)

With Playbook, David O. Russell was able to do an exceedingly difficult thing, grappling with serious mental illness while making a winning, even uplifting rom-com. Pat Solitano is living with his parents and hoping to reconcile with his ex-wife after leaving a mental hospital when he meets Tiffany Maxwell, who is also struggling with mental health issues. Russell lends a kind of Capra-esque hopefulness while examining the pain and complexity of mental illness. “I aspire in my films to make everything feel like you just dropped into it and you just happened to be stumbling into a world,” Russell told Vanity Fair. “It takes an enormous amount of craft to do that.”