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  • Writer's pictureOre Ige

why you should watch 'challengers'...like, now!!


As society inches closer to embracing a wider spectrum of non-traditional relationships, Challengers intimately explores the incredibly complex, and deeply fascinating non-traditional relationship dynamic between 3 talented tennis players. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, starring Zendaya, Mike Faist & Josh O’Connor, this movie adds enough depth  & emotional complexity to elevate itself above other sports movies, and stands out as a refreshingly unique, erotic, and gripping watching experience. 


Challengers explores 3 talented tennis players (2 best friends, and the tennis prodigy they both fall for) and the inner workings of their relationship dynamics with each other and with tennis over the years.


Acting - This movie makes the impact that it does because of the stellar performances from leads Zendaya, Faist & O’Connor. Together, they portray such intimate, complex relationships with each other that the audience has no choice but to engage with/invest in the story and its characters.

 

Writing - The script for this movie excels at bringing the audience into these complex relationships and helping you understand what each character is thinking/feeling. This works so well because the characters know each other so well that the dialogue feels natural while also highlighting some character traits/motivations that the audience may not have picked up on. The script allows the movie to keep its maturity & complexity, while making it more accessible to a much wider range of audiences who may not want/be able to pick up on some of the movie’s more subtle themes.

 

Cinematography - Naturally, Challengers features a lot of visually engaging & dynamic tennis sequences, but a lot of its eroticism is communicated visually with such subtle intensity that it becomes almost impossible to look away!

 

Music & Sound - The movie’s soundtrack is used well to underpin & contribute to the movie’s sexually-electric atmosphere and keep viewers immersed in the watching experience.

 

Pacing - Thanks to non-linear storytelling, the movie feels fast-paced because you don’t start at the beginning. All the time-jumping keeps the audience engaged as the movie goes back & forth to provide context & helps to deepen the understanding of both the characters & their relationships with each other.


While relationships are clearly a primary theme of the movie, its difficult to pick out one primary objective message, given the subjectivity of romance/emotions, and the emotional complexity of the story itself. Instead, ‘Challengers’ seems to encourage the audience to draw their own conclusions (the message I took from it was to embrace the relationships that work for you, don’t worry about the other stuff).


The film's blend of salacious eroticism and genuine emotional complexity really clicked for me and I found the movies absolutely gripping from start to finish. I was fully invested in every individual relationship & the larger dynamic of the 3 main characters, and that investment had me fully immersed in the story until literally the last second.  


Overall, Challengers is a scintillating, gripping, modern & highly immersive watching experience that audiences will likely be thinking and talking about for the rest of the year. Its fusion of emotional complexity and erotic themes makes it one of the most unique entrants to the sports movie genre that I’ve ever seen. For this reason, it’s probably more suited for audiences  who enjoy drama/romance than those actually interested in tennis, but whether you’re a fan of the sport or not, Challengers is definitely worth seeing. 


binge god's rating: 8.7/10


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