In most respects, Amelie is exactly like any other four-year-old girl. Adorable and precocious, she revels in dressing like a princess and taking part in creative activities at school. But Amelie must contend with a unique set of challenges brought on by Russell Silver Syndrome, a rare form of drawfism that affects her physical and functional development. The Real Thumbelina is a touching chronicle of her daily life, the enormous struggles and uncertainties assumed by her loving parents, and the hopes for a future where she can thrive like any normal adult.
In spite of her age, Amelie remains the size of a one-year-old. She requires nearly constant care, and her genetic abnormality leads to frequent visits to the hospital. She has trouble brushing her teeth, eating a full meal, and balancing herself when she walks or carries heavy objects. She suffers from dislocated hips, a curving of her spine, and malnutrition. Her parents worry about the cumulative effects the disorder could have on her health in later years, but they also fret over the potential for bullying, crippled self-esteem, and an inability to form meaningful relationships as she grows older.
Local doctors are mystified by her condition, but they believe that growth hormone therapy could provide the best hope for a solution. As the parents weigh the benefits and risks associated with these treatments, they're alerted to the existence of a retreat that could change the course of their daughter's life. There, Amelie will have an opportunity to meet other children who suffer from the same disorder, and her parents can meet with the world's foremost experts on the syndrome. How will Amelie's condition progress? Will she ever grow to an average adult height? Will health issues continue to plague her? With great optimism, they travel from their home in Halifax, West Yorksire to the city of Chicago in their quest to find answers.
The Real Thumbelina follows the family through each intimate step of their journey. Along the way, we're introduced to others who have overcome the challenges of the condition to lead fulfilling lives. The film is a testament to the power of hope, unconditional love and a welcoming community.