Luca Guadagnino, the man credited for launching Timothée Chalamet’s hugely successful career in the exquisite 2017 LGBTQ-themed movie Call Me By Your Name, is back with the single most anticipated title of the year yet. First scheduled to premiere at the 80th Venice International Film Festival in 2023, Challengers was eventually pulled out of the festival due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. The film eventually premiered in in Sydney, Australia last month and will be released in the UK later this month.

Starring Zendaya (the Spider-Man film series, The Greatest Showman, Dunes 1 and 2), Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country, The Crown, Emma), and Mike Faist (West Side Story, The Bikeriders), it tells the story of a passionate love triangle between three professional tennis players. Zendaya is also credited as producer on the film.

Tashi (Zendaya) Duncan, a former tennis prodigy turned coach, is married to Art Donaldson (Faist), a once promising champion who finds himself on a losing streak. Her ballsy strategy to get her husband winning again takes a rather surprising turn when Art is forced to come face to face with his former best friend Patrick Zweig (O’Connor), a once hugely talented player, now washed out and penniless. As the two champions grapple to come to terms with the loss of  their once beautiful friendship, Tashi makes a pact she might live to regret.

There is something truly wonderful about Guadagnino’s direction here. The Italian-born filmmaker delivers an intoxicating and gorgeously layered story about friendship, jealousy, and obsession in a film that keeps on surprising at every turn.

Quite aside from being the best film about tennis to date, Challengers also features three truly incredible performances from its leads. This sexy, twisted tale is accompanied by a euphorically bouncy EDM score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that serves as a brilliant companion to some of the best-filmed tennis action you are ever likely to encounter outside of the ATP tour circuit.

Zendaya, O’Connor, and Faist have crazy chemistry here, to the point that one’s allegiances are constantly put to the test. With oodles of charm and charisma aplenty, O’Connor only slightly has the upper hand over Faist.

This is a true tour de force from Guadagnino, screenwriter Justin Kuritzkes, and Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria). This is without a doubt the single most exciting movie any of us are likely to see this year. Buckle up and enjoy this sexy ride, you won’t want it to end.

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Linda Marric
Linda Marric is a senior film critic and the newly appointed Reviews Editor for HeyUGuys. She has written extensively about film and TV over the last decade. After graduating with a degree in Film Studies from King's College London, she has worked in post-production on a number of film projects and other film related roles. She has a huge passion for intelligent Scifi movies and is never put off by the prospect of a romantic comedy. Favourite movie: Brazil.
challengers-reviewThis is without a doubt the single most exciting movie any of us are likely to see this year. Buckle up and enjoy this sexy ride, you won’t want it to end.