Challengers (2024)
April 26, 2024 10:36 PM - Subscribe

Tashi (Zendaya), a former tennis prodigy turned coach, is married to a champion on a losing streak (Mike Faist). Her strategy for her husband's redemption takes a surprising turn when he must face off against his former best friend and Tashi's former boyfriend (Josh O'Connor)...

The trailer promises a deliciously amoral story of sports and erotic gamesmanship. I don't think the film quite got there, though I suspect that a viewer's assessment of its success will partially depend on their feeling about the characters' chemistry, which is subjective.

(It may not be fair to criticize this kind of film's sexual politics, since by its nature it trafficks in some of the less upright and civilized impulses, but there was something troublingly retrograde there.)
posted by praemunire (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love Guadagnino, but I don't know if I am there for a tennis movie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:48 AM on April 27

It's really more of an "arbitrary individual sports, with lots of bodies" movie. It almost feels like Zendaya's promotional outfits have had more of a marked tennis aesthetic than her wardrobe here did.
posted by praemunire at 10:32 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]

Cute note: the umpire, Darnell Appling, is Zendaya's longtime assistant who often body-doubles (!!!) for her. From his build and voice, I thought he might be a trans man (would've been nice rep), but apparently he just is that slight.
posted by praemunire at 10:38 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]

From the summary, this sounds like the plot of Chess, only it's not a musical, and the metaphor is Tennis.
posted by kandinski at 5:17 AM on April 28

This film was written by the genius behind Potion Seller.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 7:00 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]

Enjoyed this review by Justin Sayles “We Need to Talk About the ‘Challengers’ Threesome Scene. Just Not for the Reason You Think.” I hollered at “Saltburn-core” and “DON’T GOOGLE MMF AT WORK.”

I like to (wrongly, with very little basis in reality) think of this film as a sex-positive reimagining of WIMBLEDON (2004). Holy hell that was 20 years ago already. Shiiiiit. In retrospect, MMF with Jamie Lannister would’ve been fantastic. Just saying! [Flagged as I’m old and enjoyed this unapologetically HOT film quite a lot.]
posted by edithkeeler at 9:54 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]

That's a fun little essay, edithkeeler, thanks. "Y tu Tennis También", ha.
posted by mediareport at 8:05 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]

(The full review at The Ringer that the fun essay links is really good, too.
posted by mediareport at 8:12 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]

Well that was a rollicking good time while managing to still have interesting character studies. I get why people are calling it HOT, and it is, but most of the “grown up” scenes struck me as sad. Fantastic ending.
posted by dry white toast at 7:13 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]

Excellent movie that didn't take itself too seriously, and yet had a lot of layers. Haven't had this much fun watching a film in awhile.
posted by extramundane at 11:24 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]

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