Plot Summary: Lorenzo is the son of Michaela and Augusto Odone. He begins to have strange memory problems and blackouts. At age 6, he is diagnosed with the childhood cerebral form of ALD, a progressive degenerative nervous system disorder. There is no cure for this disease and his parents are told he will become totally disabled and die in a few years.
Michaela and Augusto, devastated by Lorenzo's diagnosis, decide to research ALD even though neither has a scientific or medical background. The movie shows the Odones often working at odds with skeptical doctors, scientists, and support groups. Michaela and Augusto spend countless hours in medical libraries reading journal articles and talking to researchers and doctors. After much hard work and some inspiration, they help develop a treatment for ALD made from olive and rapeseed, which they name "Lorenzo's Oil."
The movie also shows Lorenzo becoming completely bedridden and disabled as his disease progresses. At the end of the movie, he is able to communicate by a modified sign language. The story ends on a positive note as several children with ALD who have been treated with Lorenzo's Oil are shown to be healthy.