Sno Babies

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Sno Babies Movie Poster Image
Grim visuals, rape in affecting drug addiction tale.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 109 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The clear message is "Don't do drugs." Characters who do suffer acutely, and viewers see the many consequences of their choices, including arrest, overdoses, sexual assault, and more. Family members try to stick by one another, but they ultimately pay heavily for rather minor mistakes. 

Positive Role Models

Characters are realistic and relatable; neither Hannah nor Kristen thinks they have a drug dependency even though they go to outrageous lengths to get drugs. They struggle to get clean, and viewers will hope for their success. Family ties are strong, but parents are harried and distracted by work; the movie clearly disapproves of how out of touch they seem to be with their teens. A family friend of Kristen's is supportive, perhaps to a harmful degree. Most of the teen boys in the movie are somewhere on the spectrum between "uninvolved" and "criminal."


Three sexual assaults: A teen girl at a party who's passed out on heroin is raped by her ex-boyfriend, a teen's genitals are groped by a drug dealer, and a teen is forced to perform oral sex on the same drug dealer. The scenes are filmed non-exploitatively -- i.e., there's no nudity, the camera holds on the face of the teens being assaulted, and the filmmaker is sympathetic to the victims. But they're still graphic; for example, a teen boy takes off a girl's underwear, we hear a zipper, and then he's shown thrusting as she cries "It hurts!" and "Please!" Other disturbing moments involve users shooting heroin: They shoot into the underside of their tongue, one shoots into an increasingly infected toe (blood, swelling, pus), and one teen girl shows another how to shoot into the femoral artery that runs through women's genitals. A character overdoses; she's shown getting Narcan and CPR. Several animals are killed; bloody piles of fur are shown. A pregnant character hits herself in the belly, trying to induce an abortion. A woman dies after giving birth; she's shown on ground with blood and tissue between her legs as EMTs work on her. 


A teen girl dances in her underwear for a boy; she bends over to show off her underwear and then straddles him and asks for his "wish." He whispers in her ear, they fall to the bed together, and the camera cuts away; later, she tells a friend that she and the boy "did it." He then abruptly breaks up with her and won't return her calls. Sexual assault plays a part in the story; see "Violence" section for more. 


Language includes "f--k," "f--king," "motherf--ker," "s--t," "hell," "goddamn," "a--hole," "bitch" (often used as a term of endearment between female friends, as well as by male characters insulting female ones), and "p---y." A side character is called a "White trash hoe" and "ghetto."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The whole movie is about the horrific impact of drug addiction. Characters are shown shooting up many times: in the underside of their tongues, in between their toes, into their vulvas. They're also shown cooking heroin and drawing it into a syringe. One character keeps injecting into her toes, which are so infected that another character says they look like they're going to fall off. Both adults and teens drink at parties and gatherings, including a party in which characters do shots while other partygoers chant and play the drinking game quarters. The consequences of drinking aren't clear, but the movie endlessly illustrates the dire consequences of using heroin.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sno Babies is a dark drama about two high school girls who become addicted to heroin and then face dire consequences. Violence is frequent and disturbing, especially the movie's three sexual assaults. All are filmed in a way that's sympathetic to the victims, but they're still graphic. A girl who's passed out at a party is raped by her ex-boyfriend, which results in a pregnancy. In other scenes, a teen's genitals are groped by a drug dealer, and a teen is forced to perform oral sex on the same drug dealer. Characters die on-screen, including a woman who gives birth alone, abandons her baby, and then goes into shock; she's shown on the floor with blood and tissue between her legs as EMTs work on her. Drug users are seen shooting up many times: under their tongues, between (increasingly infected) toes, into their vulvas. A pregnant character punches herself in the stomach to try to induce an abortion. Several wild animals are killed; bloody piles of fur are shown. A character overdoses: She falls to the ground and is given Narcan and CPR. A girl does a dance in her underwear for her boyfriend and then has sex with him; afterward, ;he won't talk to her or return her calls (the drama seems to view this as her just punishment for having sex). Characters drink, including a party scene with shots and a drinking ame. The consequences of drug use are shown clearly and at length; they include getting arrested and having to take drug tests. Language includes "f--k," "f--king," "motherf--ker," "s--t," "hell," "goddamn," "a--hole," "bitch," and "p--y." Family ties are strong, but parents are distracted and ignore signs of trouble in their kids' lives, leading to terrible consequences. 

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What's the story?

To their parents, teachers, and the world at large, Kristen (Katie Kelly) and Hannah (Paola Andino) are bright young high school students who are headed for a great future. But in their secret lives, the best friends are SNO BABIES, addicted to shooting heroin and trying to keep up a good front as their lives go from bad to worse. As the girls' story plays out, it intersects in unexpected ways with the life of Matt (Michael Lombardi), the owner of a local nature preserve who's at a financial and emotional crossroads. 

Is it any good?

A grim portrait of the spiral of drug addiction, this movie is emotional, affecting, and well-acted, but it's also tough to push away the feeling that it revels in punishing its main characters. After an opening sequence illustrates how "good girl" Kristen is easily convinced to take an Oxycontin pill by her boyfriend (who promises that "It'll make all your worries and problems disappear"), viewers' next glimpse of her is on the school bus, where Hannah teases her about her Princeton ambitions amidst a crowd of bright-eyed schoolmates. But at the (improbably lively) teen house party that night, Hannah's boyfriend Jeff (Niko Terho) has something for the girls, something that comes in a small glassine envelope and carries with it even more problems than it will temporarily banish. Uh oh, it's Thirteen meets an afterschool special!

After that, there's nowhere for Hannah and Kristen to go but down, and the horrible consequences we've learned to expect from drug addiction films begin to pile up: overdoses, sexual assault, tangles with law enforcement, dope sickness, scoring in dangerous neighborhoods from dangerous criminals. And that's just the start. With her wide, expressive eyes, Kelly feels like a realistically not-so-tough teen buckling under unimaginable strains; viewers will feel for her, particularly in agonizing moments such as a drug-clinic urine test and strip search, which is presented unblinkingly and at length. These scenes certainly do their job of convincing viewers that they want no such part of this business; it also numbingly feels as if both Kristen and Hannah are trapped in some type of moralistic hell house, paying and paying and paying for their mistakes in a movie that almost seems made to show to school assemblies to scare kids straight. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that movies about drug addiction often focus on the terrible things that people do to get drugs and the bad things that can happen to them while they're high or trying to buy drugs. How does Sno Babies handle these scenes? Do they feel realistic? Scary? 

  • When sexual assaults are portrayed in the media, the depictions are sometimes sympathetic toward the victims, sometimes toward the assailant, and sometimes both. Who does Sno Babies show sympathy toward? How can you tell?

  • How does Sno Babies portray drug use/addiction? Does the movie warn viewers against drug use, or is it made to look appealing in any way? What are the consequences? Are they realistic?

  • What do you think the filmmakers hope audiences will take away from watching the film? Where can you go if you need help with drug-related problems?

Movie details

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