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MOVIE REVIEW: Challengers - Serve and Volley Isn't Your Standard Tennis Flick

Luca Guadagnino's "Challengers" isn't your standard tennis flick. It's a deft volley between ambition, love, and betrayal, played out against the backdrop of the glamorous, cutthroat world of professional tennis.

Courtesy Amazon MGM Studios

Zendaya portrays Tashi, a tennis prodigy turned coach, in "Challengers."

This movie is about tennis, friendship and sex and not always in that order.

Zendaya reigns supreme. Her portrayal of Tashi, a tennis prodigy turned coach, is captivating. This is very much Zendaya's movie as she is the lead actor and a producer. The movie also stars Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor (Prince Charles from the Crown). While Zendaya is definitely the star, O'Connor also does a lot of heavy lifting in this movie.

The narrative weaves a complex tapestry. We meet Tashi and two childhood friends, embroiled in a lifelong rivalry – one fueled by competition and a simmering attraction to Zendaya's character. Flashbacks, though occasionally confusing in their timeline, illuminate the depth of their bond (all three) and the passionate drive that pushes them all towards victory.

More Than Just Forehands: A Game of Desire

"Challengers" is a masterclass in building tension. The on-court battles are thrilling, but it's the unspoken desires and emotional turmoil that truly elevate the film. The sexual tension crackles between the characters, but alas audiences are unsatisfied here. This frustrated yearning might leave some viewers wanting more, but it also adds a layer of intriguing ambiguity to the narrative.

Match Point: Acing the Execution

Guadagnino's direction is masterful. The camerawork is sharp, capturing the intensity of the matches and the nuanced emotions of the characters. The film's pacing is excellent, keeping the audience engaged throughout.

While some viewers might find the lack of a clear resolution frustrating, "Challengers" is a fun, powerful and thought-provoking film. I highly recommend adding it to your watch list.

Final Score: 5 out of 5 stars


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