Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers” was released in theaters on April 26, 2024, and has grossed $15 million over the course of opening weekend alone.

The movie takes viewers through the life of ex-tennis star Tashi Duncan (Zendaya), and how she has coached her husband Art Donaldson (Mike Faist) into becoming a world renowned tennis player. Art’s tennis career started taking off when he and his childhood best friend Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor) won the boys’ junior doubles title at the U.S. Open in 2006. Soon after, Art and Patrick met Tashi at a party, and the three quickly became close. After years of heartbreak, love triangles and drama, Tashi and Art were married, and the two of them no longer associated with Patrick — that is, until Patrick and Art end up playing each other at a challenger event in New Rochelle.

The film opens with Art and Patrick in the final match of the tournament. Dramatic camera angles and slow-motion scenes emphasize just how important this match truly is. The camera pans to Tashi watching the match meticulously from the crowd, and then the film goes on to show a series of flashbacks between 2006 and 2019 to explain what has really happened between these three characters from day one.

One of the best parts about “Challengers” is its execution of the flashbacks. Not only are the switches to the past and current day very obvious and easy to follow, but the way the characters look is truly impressive. Often movies will depict flashbacks by casting younger actors, or through poorly carried out attempts at making the actors look younger. Through the use of wigs, facial hair, clothing and makeup, the flashback scenes truly look believable, and are one of the most enjoyable things about the film.

The film did a great job of using dramatic, vibrant music, but it may have been overkill at times. Music was often played slightly too loud over scenes with dialogue between characters, making it hard to hear what they were saying. This, along with an excessive amount of slow-motion scenes, are among some of the only minor things that were not as successful.

Another very enjoyable part of the film was the cinematography. It is no secret that Guadagnino does cinematography well, as his other successful movie “Call Me By Your Name” won multiple accolades including Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2018 Oscar Awards. The general composition, color and lighting of the scenes was very well done and pleasing to the eye. The way the tennis matches and courts were filmed was also unique and kept the scenes interesting. One scene is even filmed through the point of view of the tennis ball and shows viewers what it looks like as the ball is hit from side to side across the court.

Overall, “Challengers” was a fun and enjoyable watch. Since the film is rated R for some of the graphic elements shown throughout, it is recommended that those interested in watching make sure they are comfortable with the contents of the movie beforehand. That being said, anyone who enjoys a good sports drama would likely be entertained, as it is already being called by some as the “must-see” movie of the spring.