December 8, 2016 / 9:27 PM / 2 years ago

Fantasy meets tragedy in surreal 'A Monster Calls'

Sigourney Weaver poses with co-star Lewis MacDougall as she arrives for the gala screening of the film "A Monster Calls", on the second night of the 60th British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival at Leicester Square in London, Britain October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A teenage boy’s struggle with his mother’s terminal illness takes a surreal turn when he finds comfort in a giant talking tree monster in the emotional fantasy drama “A Monster Calls.”

The film is already attracting awards buzz for its young Scottish star, Lewis MacDougall, who plays Conor, a quiet, artistic teenage boy who becomes a target for the school bully.

“I guess really I would use experiences in my own life to try and understand what Conor is feeling,” MacDougall, 14, told reporters at the New York premiere on Wednesday.

MacDougall has been nominated for two critics awards by U.S. groups as well as a Spanish Feroz award.

The film, which also stars Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones, is adapted from the children’s book of the same name by Patrick Ness.

Director J.A. Bayona incorporated watercolor animations to illustrate the stories of good and evil.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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