EXCLUSIVE: A24 and DirecTV have teamed to acquire U.S. rights on The Children Act, the Richard Eyre-directed drama that premiered in the Toronto Film Festival’s Special Presentations section Saturday at the Elgin Theatre. The film stars Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Dunkirk‘s Fionn Whitehead, and has drawn strong reviews for Thompson’s performance.

She plays High Court judge Fiona Maye, who’s in personal crisis as her marriage hits the rocks. Professionally, she faces a life-changing decision: should she force a cancer-diagnosed teenage boy (Whitehead) to have the blood transfusion that will save his life, even after his family refuses treatment on religious grounds? Her unorthodox visit to his hospital bedside has a profound impact on them both, stirring strong new emotions in the boy and long-buried feelings in her.

Pic ups the ante of the A24-DirecTV partnership, as the film will be released next year but will be qualified for 2019 awards season. The deal was made by CAA for FilmNation, BBC Films and the filmmakers. Pic is produced by Love Actually‘s Duncan Kenworthy. Ian McEwan adapted the script from his novel.

FilmNation is handling offshore territories.