Challengers Review

Cast: Zendaya, Mike Faist, Josh O’Connor, A.J. Lister 

Genre: Drama, Romance, Sport

Director: Luca Guadagnino

In Cinemas: 26th April 2024


“Challengers,” the latest offering from visionary filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, serves up a fiercely entertaining blend of sports drama and romantic intrigue, anchored by Zendaya’s powerhouse performance as Tashi Duncan. The film follows Tashi, a former tennis prodigy turned coach, as she navigates the complexities of love and competition both on and off the court. At its core, “Challengers” is a fast-paced rollercoaster of emotions, with a narrative that frequently jumps back and forth, occasionally leaving viewers feeling a bit disoriented.

However, amidst the plot twists, Zendaya shines as the irresistibly sexy and fiercely determined Tashi, who stops at nothing to achieve victory. Guadagnino’s direction brings a stylish flair to the proceedings, with the tennis matches depicted in thrilling detail that lends an air of authenticity to the on-screen action.


Meanwhile, the film’s zinging extended dialogue rallies keep the energy high, ensuring that audiences remain fully engaged from start to finish. The film’s heart lies in its central love triangle, expertly portrayed by Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor. Faist delivers a nuanced performance as Tashi’s husband, Art, whose struggle with a losing streak on the tennis circuit drives much of the film’s tension.


O’Connor, meanwhile, brings a magnetic presence to the role of Patrick, Art’s former best friend and Tashi’s ex-boyfriend, whose reappearance sends shockwaves through their intertwined lives. As the pasts and present of these characters collide, “Challengers” delves into themes of love, ambition, and sacrifice, posing thought-provoking questions about the cost of victory. While the film’s cop-out ending may leave some viewers wanting more closure, its exploration of the brutal realities of competition and desire resonates long after.


In many ways, “Challengers” feels like a spiritual companion to Celine Song’s “Past Lives,” with both films offering captivating portrayals of love triangles set against the backdrop of personal and professional ambition. Together, they represent a compelling exploration of how relationships can shape our identities and our destinies. Ultimately, “Challengers” emerges as a triumph of storytelling, blending sports drama, romantic comedy, and character-driven narrative elements into a wholly satisfying cinematic experience. With its magnetic performances, stylish direction, and razor-sharp dialogue, it’s a film that leaves a lasting impression—one that may well spark future discussions and analyses in film schools for years to come.

Overall: 7/10

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