Release Date:



Challengers Movie Review Rating:

Star Cast: Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Challengers Movie Review: Luca Guadagnino Cements Zendaya As A Mature Film Star In This Steamy Sports Film
Challengers Movie Review: Luca Guadagnino Cements Zendaya As A Mature Film Star In This Steamy Sports Film (Photo Credit – IMDb)

What’s Good: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross deliver an excellent score that sounds very much like their best work as the rock band Nine Inch Nails, using the best of classical and synthesized tunes, which propels each scene to the next level.

What’s Bad: The film’s pace stumbles a bit towards the end of the second act, but besides that, the film works almost flawlessly as it reaches its climactic conclusion.

Loo Break: There are no look breaks here as each scene feels relevant to the overall story, and there are several sequences you cannot afford to miss.

Watch or Not?: Yes, this is a must-watch for the season, and it is easily one of the best films of Guadagnino to date.

Language: English

Available On: Theatrical release

Runtime: 131 Minutes

User Rating:

Sports films are one of those genres where it is easy to follow a certain formula to create the perfect feel-good experience. Luca Guadagnino, one of the most celebrated filmmakers of our times, has his own take on the genre. The result is a film that is more interested in how the athletes relate to each other in a match, how the business of tennis is run, and what represents each one of our trio of protagonists.

Challengers Movie Review
A still from the movie Challengers (Photo Credit – IMDb)

Challengers Movie Review: Script Analysis

Challengers is written by Justine Kuritzkes, husband of Celine Song, who was recently nominated for an Oscar for her work in Past Lives, arguably one of the best films of 2023. It seems like Kuritzkes follows in her wife’s footsteps by writing one of the best films of 2024 so far, and definitely one of the most accessible and best films in Luca Guadagnino’s filmography.

The script follows almost the same theme as in Past Lives, and creates its central conflict by using the infamous love triangle as a source of drama. However, instead of falling into clichés, Kuritzkes knows how to keep things fresh and exciting, and the characters are all very well-defined in their personalities, which somehow makes them all right for each other, even when it’s an unusual relationship. This strange dynamics between the three characters becomes the focus of the film and does wonders at keeping the audience engaged.

In general, Kuritzkes perfects a symbiotic relationship between the trio, and it is clear that while they have clear, honest feelings for each other, they also are using each other for their vested interests-good or bad. The nature of this dynamics presents challenges and the characters need to overcome those even when most of the audience won’t know what to expect from this unusual relationship.

On the other hand, the movie really pushes forward the relationship between the characters. Still, for some reason, Zendaya’s character, Tashi, feels sidelined for most of the relationship as she becomes very distant early on, and the final part of the second act feels a bit monotonous. However, other than that, the story’s pace is quite amazing, and the final act is just full of urgency and excitement. The ending will leave people splitting hairs, but from a specific point of view, it feels like the movie’s ending needed to be like that.

Challengers Movie Review: Star Performance

Zendaya is without a doubt becoming one of the greatest movie stars in the business, she has the recognition and the fan base, so the only thing missing for her is the box office, but she is working on that as she has the Dune franchise & Dune 2 has become one of the blockbuster hits of the year so far. Let’s hope that Challengers also has a good run at the box office as the it has been quite weak since the last couple of weeks. 

However, the same cannot be said for Josh O’Connor and Faist, who really have the opportunity to shine and prove that they can be stars. O’Connor especially sheds the Charles character from The Crown and transforms into a very different character. Faist, who is indeed the best actor in Spielberg’s West Side Story, finally gets his time in the spotlight with a very demanding role that could have been totally different in the hands of another actor.

Challengers Movie Review
A still from the movie Challengers (Photo Credit – IMDb)

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