Challengers: A Steamy Love Triangle Packaged in a Sports Drama

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: Justin Kuritzkes
Main Cast: Zendaya, Mike Faist, Josh O’Connor
Genre: Sports/Romance
Country: US
Runtime: 2h 11m

Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s latest film, ‘Challengers,’ is a steamy love triangle set against the backdrop of tennis. ‘Challengers’ is a movie about friendship, ambition, and the desire for control. And most importantly, it is a movie about lost zest and rediscovering fire.

The story revolves around two childhood friends who, after years of being apart, come face to face on a tennis court for a match that can decide their fate. While one of them is now a famous tennis player, trying to get back his lost form, the other, despite his natural talent, reached nowhere. But, tennis is not the only thing they have in common, they also love the same woman who is now a wife to one and an ex-lover to the other.

Seamless blend of creative choices

The film follows a non-linear story structure. It goes back and forth between the present-day tennis match and moments from the past. This allows viewers to delve into the characters’ backstories and navigate their bittersweet relationship with each other. The creative storytelling style blended seamlessly with the innovative camera movements and rhythmic soundtrack, contributing to a consistent pace and tension buildup in the narrative.

Spoken narrative

Despite its powerful buildup, some critics may be put off by the fact that certain parts of the narrative are conveyed through dialogue rather than visually shown. This includes the characters’ states of mind and the depth of their relationships. However, this doesn’t pose a problem to the film. The story is so crisp and fast-paced that digging into every detail of the characters’ lives seemed unnecessary. Web-series usually have enough time to explore these aspects well. Expecting it from a 2-hour movie without tampering its length would be unrealistic.


Overall, ‘Challengers’ is a sexy and stylish take on a love triangle involving two men and a woman, reminiscent of Truffaut’s classic Jules et Jim. This film is a testament to Luca Guadagnino’s directorial prowess. Hence, it would be an understatement to say I recommend it. I would rather say it’s a MUST-WATCH.

Currently in Theatres.

Pankaj Madaan

A filmmaker and a screenwriter known for his comprehensive knowledge of world cinema and insightful commentary on the Hindi film industry.

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