Film Review: Challengers (Guadagnino, 2024)

Movie: Challengers

Production Companies: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Frenesy Film Company, Pascal Pictures.

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Producers: Luca Guadagnino, Rachel O’Connor, Amy Pascal, Zendaya.

Scriptwriters: Justin Kuritzkes

Main Cast: Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, Mike Faist.

Release Date: April 26, 2024 (United States)

Running Time: 2hr 11min

Certificate: 15


Tennis is a game of connection, relationships, betrayal, and competition, and that is what this film is about. Tashi Duncan (Zendaya) finds herself trapped between the affections of best friends, Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor) and Art Donaldson (Mike Faist). This film tells the whole story of their relationships and interactions through the use of multiple flashbacks and time jumps, which ultimately don’t work to the film’s advantage. Although some elements of this film had me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what was going to happen next, there was ultimately a lot wrong with this film that overshadowed the tension that the filmmakers were trying to create.


A story about love, betrayal, and competition, ‘Challengers’ is ultimately a film about a love triangle with best friends Patrick Zweig and Art Donaldson fighting over the affection of tennis pro Tashi Duncan, only Tashi doesn’t know who she wants. Set over multiple years of their friendship and relationship, this film tells the story of this group of people from their meeting until the competitive tennis match in present day.


The storyline of the film is quite interesting. It follows best friends Patrick and Art while they meet and develop a crush on the famous tennis player Tashi Duncan. Without giving too much away, the film focuses on the relationship between Tashi and both of the men at different stages of her life until the two men have to compete in a tennis match against one another which could make or break their career. The film obviously attempted to create a sense of romance and relationship and have used Tennis as a metaphor for the rockiness of friendship and relationships as they are intimate things that require hard work one-on-one, but they are also a challenge and sometimes a competition, shown through the fact that Patrick and Art have to compete with each other not only in the game of Tennis but also for Tashi’s affections.

The storyline of the film itself is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, desperate to find out what is going to happen, but the way the narrative has been structured completely takes you away from the world of the film. The film has been edited in a way with a lot of time jumps. It is obvious to see what is happening in the present day, but the time jumps are all over the place, from being five years ago, then thirteen years ago, then twelve years later and then six years ago, the film has really struggled with its chronology. This narrative structure really confused me as a viewer as there was a lot I didn’t know happened within the film that we were just supposed to accept and move on, but I’m still wondering what happened with one of the smaller plot points.

Although the narrative structure was a bit all over the place, it did allow for some great editing style and cinematography techniques as some shots were really quite amazing, such as the tracking shots of the ball as the match was being played, really high speed and making the audience feel a rush and anticipation wondering what was going to happen.


To summarise, although the storyline was intriguing, the cinematography was amazing and the acting was believable, the narrative structure just pulled me away from the film, and that just shouldn’t happen. All of the time jumps were extremely confusing, especially when the actors still looked the same age when it was supposed to be a flashback to 13-years ago. With revisions to the structure of the film and the way the story is told, it had the potential to be a good film.

Overall Rating: 6/10 – Reasonable

Recommendation: No