CHALLENGERS & some of cinemas other complicated romances

In the movies, two’s company but three’s a love triangle. The new tennis themed movie ‘Challengers’ very much continues that fine movie tradition of having a central character (here it’s Zendaya) being torn between two lovers (in this instance, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist – hard to feel sympathy for you here, Zendaya honey!). To mark ‘Challengers’ release, we take a look at some of the more captivating movie love triangles.


It was the question that defined – or at least divided – a generation: Would heroine Bella (Kristen Stewart) give her heart/neck to youthful old vampire Ed (Robert Pattinson) or strapping teen wolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner)? The ultimate resolution of the conflict is absolutely wild. In short: Bella and Edward end up together, and Jacob ends up with…their daughter?! TWIST.

Bridget Jones’ Diary
The first Bridget Jones has one of the romcom genre’s greatest love triangles (with some major law of diminishing returns setting in for the sequel). Bridget (Renee Zellewger) falls for her slimy-but-fun boss Daniel (Hugh Grant) all while having her head turned by stuffy-but-sexy lawyer Mark (Colin Firth), the man who simply likes her ‘just as she is’. Swoon.

Dune : Part 2
Funnily enough, ‘Challengers’ isn’t Zendaya’s first complicated ‘situationship’ movie this year. The first ‘Dune’ established that her character Chani and hero Paul (Timothee Chalamet) are clearly in love. However, in the recent sequel, Paul proposes a marriage of political convenience with Irulan (Florence Pugh). The movie leaves us questioning who Paul will ultimately end up with. Don’t envy you having to pick between two fabulous queens, Paul buddy!

My Best Friend’s Wedding
This has the makings of a love triangle here – between Julianne (Julia Roberts), her longtime best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney) and his new fiancée Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) – but, crucially, Michael never reciprocates Julianne’s feelings. Besides, the big love story here is between Julianne and her gay BFF George (Rupert Everett).

Just what a story about a sinking luxury liner resulting in 1,500 deaths needs – more drama! Broke society girl Rose (Kate Winslet) is betrothed to loaded rotter Cal (Billy Zane). But then she meets twinky ragamuffin Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), and one sweaty rollick in the back seat of a car later, they’re determined to run away together once the Titanic arrives in the US. And they all lived happily ever after, the end.

Something’s Gotta Give
If there’s one thing that writer-director Nancy Meyers loves more than a gorgeous movie kitchen, it’s a good on-screen love triangle (see also: ‘It’s Complicated’). Here, the glorious Diane Keaton ends up with a fateful decision to make: pick lothario-with-a-faulty-heart-of-gold Jack Nicholson or hunky toyboy doctor Keanu Reeves. Of course, you’ll spend the whole movie screaming at her to pick Keanu.

Chasing Amy/Passages
We love a sexually fluid love triangle in these parts. ‘Chasing Amy’ – pretty ahead of its time in 1997 – sees Holden (Ben Affleck) fall for gay gal Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), all while Holden’s best friend Banky (Jason Lee) is in love with him. Meanwhile, in last year’s ‘Passages’, Tomas (Franz Rogowski) cheats on his husband (Ben Whishaw) with Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos), kickstarting a whole hot mess of a complicated love triangle (soon a love square).

Part of what makes ‘Brooklyn’ so impactful is that the choice of men/lives offered to Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) both have a lot of pros. In America, she can continue to build a new life with adorable/adoring plumber Tony (Emory Cohen), while in Wexford she could have a comfortable, mutually respectful relationship with publican Jim (Domhnall Gleeson). The good news is that author Colm Toibin will explore Eilis’ life post-Brooklyn in a new book out this summer called ‘Long Island’.

Y Tu Mama Tambien
This Mexican road movie is scorching hot in every sense. Teenagers Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) take a road trip with unhappily married twentysomething Luisa (Maribel Verdu). Naturally, hormones and feelings run amok and it ends with a threesome scene that has been burned into the minds of everyone who saw it since.

The Notebook
Hard to believe this millennial-favourite weepie is 20 years old this year. The swoonsome love story between Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) is interrupted by disapproving parents and, what else, oh yes, World War II. Allie then becomes engaged to Lon (James Marsden), but then becomes reunited with Noah too. That ending is still a killer. I’m not crying, it’s my allergies okay?!

Words – Declan Cashin

CHALLENGERS is at Irish cinemas from April 26th