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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at San Francisco chapter.

On Monday, April 22nd Regal Stonestown Galleria, just a few hundred feet away from SFSU, hosted an advanced screening of Challengers, one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2024. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Josh O’ Connor, Mike Faist, and Zendaya – Challengers I can confidently say, lived up to its long awaited release. 

The original release date for the film was September of 2023, but with the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike, we got our first trailer in June of 2023 to then have to wait a grueling ten months for its release. I have already seen the film twice and cannot wait for it to hit streaming platforms and here are three things that I will not stop talking about.

Codependency: The Movie

Given the director’s candid remark, “I think those three characters in that movie are beautifully complex and really f*cked-up people that I love very much,” it couldn’t be a more fitting description for Art, Tashi, and Patrick. The audience has been divided by their love, understanding, or attraction to each character. However, after watching it for the second time, I’ve come to realize that these characters are indeed beautifully complex. They are all in pursuit of something they can only find in each other, which undeniably influences their actions. Therefore, when you find yourself torn between Team Art, Team Tashi, or Team Patrick, you might unconsciously be gravitating towards the character whose actions you find most tolerable. After my first viewing, I was 100% Team Art, but even at the time of writing this article I don’t know where my allegiance lies at this point.     

Stellar Cinematography

Italian director Luca Guadagnino has solidified his status as a legend in the film industry, known for creating emotionally complex, sultry, and visually captivating works. Challengers, is no exception. As a cinema student, I was fascinated by cinematography. For those familiar with Guadagnino’s 2022 film Bones and All, starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, you’ll notice striking similarities. The movie sports camera angles that bring you intimately close to the characters, almost as if you’re intruding on their personal space. There are intense shots that seem to place the camera on the tennis ball as it zips back and forth across the court. True to Guadagnino’s style, there are also moments where time seems to slow down amidst what would otherwise be fast-paced scenes.

Sexual Tension 

This. Movie. Is. Sexy. 

For a film that has absolutely zero sex scenes, there are moments in this film that will leave you feeling flushed and excited. As someone who’s never been a big sports fan, I now see tennis as the most intimate sport out there. I will keep this paragraph short but all I will say is that viewers will walk away from this film with a new love for short shorts, sweat, and they’ll never look at a churro the same way again. 

Starr Washington

San Francisco '25

Starr Washington is a member of the Her Campus National Writer Program, contributing to the lifestyle section. She also serves as the President of the Her Campus Chapter at her university. Currently a junior at San Francisco State University, Starr is pursuing a degree in Broadcast Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) with a minor in Africana Studies. Following her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue an MFA in creative writing. Starr is dedicated to showcasing her blackness in her professional work and is always rooting for black creatives, particularly in film, literature, and travel. In addition to her writing, Starr works at her university’s multicultural center, where she organizes annual events for both the campus and the Bay Area community. Her events include, but are not limited to, Banned Books Week, the Womxn of Color Healing Symposium, and the Womxn of Color Writer Series. She was a speaker at the San Francisco State University Black Studies Origins and Legacy Commemoration, where she had the honor of sitting alongside the founders of the country's first Black Student Union. Starr also teaches a course she developed called “Intro to Black Love” within SFSU’s experimental college program. In her rare free time, Starr enjoys chipping away at her TBR list (she finishes one book, then adds three more to the list), writing poetry and fiction, and spending time with her music enthusiast partner and their three-year-old German Shepherd. She is a Scorpio from Michigan.