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Zendaya’s first major headlining acting vehicle is a compelling match on and off the court.

Challengers, the latest film from renowned director Luca Guadagnino – of Call Me By Your Name fame – offers a compelling look at the relationships between three young tennis stars over a span of more than a decade.

Despite its focus on the world of tennis, this film transcends the sport and delves deep into the complexities of human emotions – making it a captivating watch for audiences beyond just tennis enthusiasts.

The story revolves around the captivating love triangle between Tashi Duncan (portrayed by the talented Zendaya, from the recent Spider-Man and Dune films), Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor from TV series The Crown), and Art Donaldson (West Side Story’s Mike Faist).

The drama skillfully navigates between pivotal moments in the characters’ lives, from their initial encounter in 2006, to a climactic tennis match in 2019, keeping viewers engrossed in the evolving dynamics between them.

Zendaya delivers a standout performance, showcasing her range and depth as an actress in a role that allows her to shine as the central figure of the story. While Zendaya has impressed audiences in previous supporting roles, such as in The Greatest Showman, this film truly showcases her talent and establishes her as a leading force on the screen.

It may be worth noting that the trailer hints at a certain level of heat and sensuality, but in reality it’s not quite as ‘steamy’ as the infamous threesome scene in the promotional materials suggests.

In fact, what you see in the trailer is pretty much what you get in the movie, but nothing much more beyond that. This observation is not a critique but rather me managing your expectations.

But there’s plenty to enjoy here, and it is a must-watch for fans of character-driven dramas – and especially those seeking a moving exploration of human connections.

And if that’s what you’re looking for – then this serves up an ‘Ace’. 


ESP Rating: 4/5


Mike Clarke

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, Mike Faist, Hailey Gates & AJ Lister

Running Time: 2 Hr 11 Mins

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux

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