The Student News Site of Elkhorn South High School

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The Student News Site of Elkhorn South High School

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The Student News Site of Elkhorn South High School

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Must Watch With Merrigan: Challengers

Challenging the norms of love triangles and sports movies
Challengers movie poster

The love triangle is a common dynamic employed in films, books, and television, enchanting audiences with the suspense that comes from wondering who will be picked. However, despite the relevance of this theme in the media, few works truly feature a real love triangle. With two boys going for one girl or two girls after one boy, most attempts at a triangle result in a line. To create a perfect three pointed battle for love there must be a tension and desire present in all parties involved. This incorporation of an accurate depiction of a love triangle is part of what made “Challengers” so entertaining and captivating for all audience members. 

The hair and makeup crew, along with the costumers played a major role in the transformation of these three characters from young college students to young adults in their twenties, to profound thirty year olds living out their tennis dreams. While Zendaya is already equipped with a smooth, wrinkle free face with the young free spirit fit of an eighteen year old, the addition of her fuschia tracksuits, and short shorts, as well as her silky long hair, truly convinced the audience that she was a newly turned adult. It was also her attitude though that really sealed the deal. Still being fierce and strong headed but just a little more adventurous and curious at her young age, especially surrounding her co-stars as they attempt to court her. The jump from her “I told ya” shirt to the sharp bob, chunky jewelry and rich sunglasses, the leap in time is very apparent in her new look and disposition. With each increasing age she seems to become more and more stern and disinterested in her attitude towards Art and Patrick. Less invested in their personal lives, focusing more attention on the back and forth game she is playing with them herself. The boys however, pining after her in every stage of life, don’t seem to change much throughout the years. Despite their growing appearances and obvious ages, their antics and naivety never seem to slip away with age. Playing into Tashi’s game no matter how many years have gone by since it’s begun. 

While the riveting acting performed by Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor was the highlight of this film, the cherry on top was the expert score. The chosen songs elicited adrenaline, with their video game-esque beats encapsulating the feeling of this ongoing game the triangle participated in. The background music was essential to the audience’s immersion into the film. The fast thumps coming from the speakers transported the entire theater onto the tennis court, practically feeling the droplets of sweat and intense anger that comes with the game. In contrast with the pulsing bass, there were music selections sung by a choir, separating their games from their real life and emotions. The dichotomy of the sweet choir with the heart-rate inducing synth showed the clear separation between their life on the court and their life on the battlefield of love. However, this fast paced music was also included in the scenes where Zendaya’s character Tashi was playing her desperate counter parts, Art (Faist) and Patrick (O’Connor), in her own twisted mind games, in which she made them compete for her affections and the greatness that accompanies it. Truly exemplifying Tashi’s love for her sport, and her sport only. If she couldn’t play tennis, she would play the agonizing game of cat and mouse, and mouse. 

The only critique I have of this film is the lack of true exploration into Art and Patricks complicated relationship. The tension between them was too obvious for it to only go as far as subliminal hints. They share a clear affection for one another, while sharing that same affection for Tashi, but the idea that their relationship never reached passed surface level seems highly improbable. It would have been riveting to see the throuple navigate each pair within it, not just the ones involving Tashi. However, throughout the entire film they always remained intertwined, the duo within the trio, speaking a language that Tashi never understood communicating like they always had, since the beginning of the film, proving no matter how much time had passed their bond would never fade. 

Despite any critiques I may have for this movie, they will never be enough to make me turn on it, as I am still searching for another flick that would induce quite as much adrenaline as “Challengers” did. No amount of action in any film could excite me so much and keep me so invested making this tennis movie an unprecedented release that may change the way movie relationships are made forever. 

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Merrigan Miller
Merrigan Miller, Editor in Chief

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