San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Challengers:’ Love, Lust and Tennis on the Big Screen

Dive into the competitive world of tennis as the new romantic drama “Challengers” has finally arrived in theaters
Mike Faist, Zendaya and Josh O’Connor in “Challengers.” Photo Courtesy of MGM

Prepare yourselves for the thrill of the new blockbuster film “Challengers,” which has finally arrived in theaters.

“Challengers” is a bold, sweaty and provocative romantic drama set in the high-stakes world of professional tennis. 

With its amazing cast, gripping story and intense moments, this movie is a must-see. This  film creates a world of ambition, desire and excitement that will keep you hooked from start to finish.

At the center of “Challengers” is Tashi Duncan (Zendaya), a former tennis prodigy turned coach who has made her husband Art Donaldson (Mike Faist) into a Grand Slam champion. 

Their intense relationship is then disrupted when Art must compete in a crucial tournament match against his former best friend Patrick (Josh O’Connor) who also has a complicated past with Tashi. 

The brilliant editing and storyline of the movie seamlessly intercuts between past and present timelines, increasing the tension and mystery surrounding the trio’s history,giving the audience a better understanding of their backstory

The reunion between the three at the tournament reignites the long-simmering tensions and unresolved feelings between the three, setting

Photo Courtesy of MGM

the stage for a riveting battle both on and off the court.

Director Luca Guadagnino — famously known for the movie “Call Me by Your Name” —  steps up to the role and creates a style in directing that elevates “Challengers” far above a standard sports drama or romantic thriller. 

His framing of the tennis matches is simply exhilarating, transforming the sport into high-action sequences filled with slow-motion shots and dynamic camerawork that makes every swing of the racket boom with intensity.

With the amazing performances from its trio of leads and Guadagnino’s masterful direction, the film delivers a thrilling exploration of passion, rivalry and the complexities of desire.

Zendaya is simply magnificent as Tashi, who is ambitious and unapologetically sexual. Zendaya owns every scene with her captivating presence, perfectly showing the character’s complexity and struggles as a woman torn between her thirst for success and her unresolved desires. Her performance is a perfect balance between restraint and explosive emotional outbursts, leaving the audience hanging on to her every word and action.

The chemistry between Zendaya, Faist and O’Connor is also off the charts. The trio generates a certain type of sexual tension that sparks across the screen. The three deliver complex and layered performances that make this twisted love triangle utterly compelling.

At its core, the film dives into the complexities of ambition, rivalry and desire. Tashi, Art and Patrick are all deeply flawed and messy characters driven by their respective obsessions — whether it is professional glory, sexual conquest or the desperate need to recreate their past glories. 

Their tangled web of relationships and motivations creates this fascinating drama as loyalties shift and allegiances are tested.

This new film is wildly entertaining and provocative. 

This intense drama explores the lengths people will go to achieve greatness and the sacrifices they’ll make for love and success. 

With its blend of incredible performances, stylish direction and intense energy, “Challengers” is a must-see in theaters. 

By the time the credits roll, you’ll be left breathless with your heart still racing from this rollercoaster of a movie. 

About the Contributor
Mimi Simons, '24-25 Social Media Editor