Lena and Snowball parents guide

Lena and Snowball Parent Guide

It's mediocre but at least it's a harmless film for young animal lovers.

Overall B

Digital on Demand: Lena is a lonely girl, and is frequently bullied at school. Then she finds a lion cub who she names Snowball...

Release date January 15, 2021

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use A-

Why is Lena and Snowball rated PG? The MPAA rated Lena and Snowball PG for some thematic elements, rude behavior/language, and mild violence.

Run Time: 90 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Lena (Melissa Collazo) is struggling to adapt after moving to a new town. She is bullied for her stutter and hasn’t been able to make any friends. While out for a bike ride, Lena stumbles upon a lion cub, who she soon names Snowball. Lena and Snowball become fast friends, but little does she know that Snowball is being chased down by two animal smugglers (Wade Williams and Branscombe Richmond) who will stop at nothing to get him back.

Far and away the best part of this movie is the lion cub. He’s super cute and gets into adorable hijinks. At one point, he falls asleep next to a puppy and if you don’t think that’s the most adorable thing ever then I don’t want to be your friend. That cub is the best actor on this set, and it’s not even a close competition.

As a whole, Lena and Snowball is as bland as its title. The writing is predictable, the plot holes are plentiful, and the acting is wooden. You know a production had a low budget when the end credits are less than 60 seconds long. All that said, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever been subjected to. The movie is too boring to be offensive, and too generic to be considered a failure. You can’t miss if you don’t swing or whatever it is sports people say.

I think the writers are trying to get too many messages across, resulting in a bit of a thematic muddle. But there are some starting points in for good conversations with your kids. The bullying subplot could be a good prompt for talking about bullying and/or speech impediments. (Lena rarely stutters except when someone is commenting on it, but don’t let consistency get in the way of a good discussion.) There are also some glossed over themes about poaching and exotic animal ownership, which are important issues that your budding activist might want to latch on to.

Lena and Snowball is mostly inoffensive, aside from a couple of scenes involving guns being pointed at people. Overall, it’s a safe choice for family viewing, though the very young might get bored. My 4-year-old loved the lion cub, but whenever it wasn’t on screen he lost interest and wandered away. If you have an animal lover who doesn’t want to sit through a documentary, this might be a decent option for them.

Directed by Brian Herzlinger. Starring Michael 'Big Smooth' Frazier, Spencer Allport, and Deborah Arrieta. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release January 15, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Lena and Snowball

Lena and Snowball
Rating & Content Info

Why is Lena and Snowball rated PG? Lena and Snowball is rated PG by the MPAA for some thematic elements, rude behavior/language, and mild violence.

Violence: Verbal bullying is a theme in multiple scenes. A tween pushes another tween to the ground. Discussions about hunting animals for sport. An adult holds a tween down and yells at him. A tween girl is grabbed by an adult in a threatening way and then tied up. A man pulls out a gun and points it threateningly. Police officers point guns at criminals. None of the guns are ever fired.
Sexual Content: A tween girl kisses a tween boy on the cheek.
Profanity: Verbal bullying including “freak”, “loser”, “nerd”, and “dork”. A handful of uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: The main villain drinks wine in one scene. A brief mention of moonshine.

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Lena and Snowball Parents' Guide

Are lions pets? What laws do you have in your area regarding exotic pets? What actions could we take to support anti-poaching initiatives?

Why do the boys tease Lena? Why is it so hard for Jake to tell his friends to stop bullying her?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

A girl bonds with a lion cub after it’s born on their South African lion farm in Mia and the White Lion.

Animated lions take center stage in The Wild and The Lion King.