Why Challengers Is The Horniest Sports Movie Of All Time

‘Challengers’ is the horniest sports movie you’ll ever see

We're calling it now – this is the steamiest sports drama ever committed to celluloid. Oh, and the tennis scenes aren't bad, either

THE SPORTS MOVIE has been part of the film landscape for about as long as moving pictures have existed. We watch live sports to an almost religious degree, so why not devote the same energy to narrative stories (both fictional and nonfictional) being told in the same way? The ‘sports movie’ genre doesn’t get as much conversation as, say, ‘action’ or ‘horror’ for one simple reason: most of the time, the stories are pretty telegraphed, pretty predictable, and pretty redundant. There’s one key way to change that, though – with a movie that’s, yes, about a sport… but also about so much more.

Enter Challengers, a movie as much about the intensity of competitive tennis and a love for the game as it is about three specific players and fanatics whose personal (and romantic) lives are so intertwined that they simply cannot get away from one another over the course of more than ten years. Director Luca Guadagnino and writer Justin Kuritzkes infuse Challengers with a sense of frenetic energy and constant sensuality that the film’s trio of stars – Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist – are 100% game for, and manage to use their charismatic talents and handles on their respective characters to ramp up even more.

The story is framed by a Challenger match between the famous and successful Art (Faist) and the lower-circuit scuffler Patrick (O’Connor), where the winner ostensibly earns a spot to compete at the U.S. Open. But over the course of the match, we learn about their history – as former best friends, doubles partners, and, yes, competitors – and also about Art’s wife/coach Tashi (Zendaya), who was once a phenom herself, catching the attention of both men before an injury cut her career short.

Through the unique relationship between its three leads, Challengers manages to upend any pre-existing ‘sports movie’ expectations you possibly could have had. With the help of Guadagnino’s inventive and exciting filmmaking, along with a Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score that will make you feel like you just took some kind of VERY intense upper drug, Challengers knows how to please the people watching. The tennis scenes are intense, a form of nonverbal storytelling in and of themselves, and every bit of the film serves to set another vital moment or character trait up.

You’ll walk out of Challengers feeling like you just got a jolt of energy—and probably want to watch it again right away.

What is Challengers about?

Challengers is two types of movie in one: a sports movie – telling an authentic and intense story of three uber-talented tennis players – and a romantic drama, diving deep into a long-evolving relationship between those same three tennis players (who also happen to be complex sexual beings).

The story is simple enough: Art and Patrick are essentially lifelong best friends who are doubles partners, but also face off when they need to. But when they see Tashi Duncan – a tennis prodigy sponsored by Adidas before even attending college—everything changes; they both kind of fall head over heels for her.

The film tells its story in a nonlinear fashion, jumping between the moment when all three met, to its present day Challenger event – where a now-successful Art, now married to Tashi, and a Patrick who lives out of his car are facing off – and everything in between.

The film gains more and more steam as it goes on, both in the bedroom and on the court, climaxing with easily the most exciting ten-minute sequence to hit cinemas so far in 2024.

via Mens Health US


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