This story contains major spoilers for Challengers.

Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers doesn’t hold its themes close to its chest. The film tracks a 13-year relationship between three tennis players— the technically-sound but passionless Art (Mike Faist), the talented slouch Patrick (Josh O’Connor), and Tashi (Zendaya), the prodigy they’re both instantly enamored with the moment they lay eyes on her—from their youth to the moment they all meet again on opposite sides of a pivotal match. At one point early in the triangle courtship, Tashi actually says “tennis is a relationship.”

So it’s a little bit of a swerve when the film ends in what’s seemingly a decidedly non-definitive place. But it’s really about as perfect a conclusion to this tale of athletically gifted co-dependents could be.

The movie starts in media res, with the climactic match between an adult Art and Patrick underway as Tashi watches intently from the sidelines. Kicking things off in 2019 tells us Art and Tashi ended up together, but the flashback to 2006 reveals she initially had a relationship with Patrick. How did she settle on him after a steamy three-way hotel kiss the night before the match? Tennis, of course: the winner of Patrick and Art’s face-off the next day would also win Tashi’s affections. “I just want to watch some good fucking tennis,” she tells the boys, to light their competitive spark.

As the movie ping-pongs across the next decade and back, it’s quickly evident that tennis is the only thing that really gets Tashi going. Her version of foreplay during a steamy Stanford dorm hook-up with Patrick—their first time seeing each other in months—is talking about how and why his game has been slacking; when he insists on changing the subject she goes cold and soon kicks him out.

Around that same time Art is also at Stanford and still playing, but moping through the motions, likely replaying his loss in the great Tashi Cup of ‘06 every night in his nightmares. Art’s more interested in blatantly trying to maneuver Patrick and Tashi apart; Patrick, instead of being offended, remarks that Art’s dirty macking has the fire that his tennis game has been lacking lately. That feeling persists through the years, even as Art enters the pros as a shining prospect, successfully drives Patrick and Tashi apart, and goes from cuck to champ when he convinces her to be his coach and his girl. By the time we meet Art as an uber-accomplished, filthy rich, literal poster boy in 2019 in the film’s non-linear opening, he’s practically dead inside.

Tashi, now his wife, senses he’s completely out of love with the sport and can barely hide her disdain—especially since, following her career-ending injury, living vicariously through Art is the only way she can maintain a connection to the court. Art, rightfully, fears a tennis retirement would effectively sign his divorce papers. Patrick’s motivations are… where the script maybe falters a little. The story is noticeably vague on what he’s been up to for a decade, how he fell so far, and why he’s living in his car and sleeping with women for shelter despite being a one-percenter baby. Still, both men have real stakes in the outcome: for Art, a confidence booster to make one last US Open push so that he still has a chance at his wife being able to stomach the sight of him. For Patrick, a shot at redemption, and a last-ditch push to go as far as he can before aging out.

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