Challengers cements Zendaya with leading lady status

So far, 2024 has been the year of Zendaya. With Dune: Part Two grossing almost $700 million worldwide, Challengers opening to fantastic reviews on April 26, and the 27-year-old serving as co-chair for this year's Met Gala, the actress is prospering.  

Zendaya has given her best performance yet as the lead in filmmaker Luca Guadagnino's fantastic tennis thriller Challengers. She portrays Tashi Duncan, a tennis prodigy who turns to coaching following a career-ending injury.   

Zendaya is very lovely. Her character is thrust into an emotional—and occasionally physical—relationship with best friends and tennis competitors, Art Donaldson (Mike Faist) and Patrick Zweig (Josh O'Connor).  

The love triangle is fuelled by passion, mind games, competition, and tennis as we follow them across 13 years, from the youth U.S. Open to the competitive tennis tour.  

As Zweig, O'Connor plays the naughty and cunning affluent kid wanting to prove he can make his own way (while pretending he doesn't have the world's largest safety net waiting to save him).  

The Crown actor delivers a great portrayal, and you'll find yourself drawn to and disliking him as rapidly as a volley over the net. Faist's vulnerability and reverence to Tashi make him an excellent opponent for O'Connor, but his gentle demeanor conceals a far more devious undertone.  

Challengers is a frantic, exhilarating, and humorous trip, highlighted by an almost scene-stealing score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It's difficult to make parallels because this film is unlike anything I've watched before.  

There's a late scene - don't worry, no spoilers — where you understand something huge is about to happen.   

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