Holiday in the Wild Parent Guide
It's refreshing to see a Christmas movie set in Africa instead of the usual snowy, over-decorated small town.
Parent Movie Review
Sending your only child off to university is a bittersweet moment – pride and excitement mixed with a sense of loss and apprehension. When Kate (Kristin Davis) says goodbye to her college-bound son, Luke (John Owen Lowe), she squares her shoulders and resolves to make the best of it. Maybe she’ll resume her career as a veterinarian or add some zing to her marriage. With that in mind, she buys tickets for a surprise African safari getaway. Sadly, the only surprise comes from her husband, who informs her that he no longer loves her and is moving out.
With a paid for holiday in front of her, and a new life to figure out, Kate makes the obvious choice – she takes the holiday solo. In Africa, she comes across an abrasive bush pilot (Rob Lowe), an orphaned elephant, and an elephant rescue sanctuary – all of which help her find a new sense of purpose.
Romantic comedies in general, and Christmas rom-coms in particular, are notoriously formulaic and it must be acknowledged that Holiday in the Wild doesn’t do anything to subvert expectations. But unlike many of the other movies in the genre, this one has heart. It genuinely seems to care about its characters and the elephants. Better still, the movie has mind as well as heart - the characters in it don’t just emote; they also think. Kate doesn’t fly off to Africa looking for love. She embarks on a journey that leads her to find herself – only then is she able to love again.
I have to admit to a love-hate relationship with rom-coms. I love the assurance of a happily-ever-after. After a stressful week, it can be a treat to settle down with a movie that won’t add to the intensity of real life. But I often struggle with production quality – lazy writing, absurdly big plot holes, and clueless characters. Holiday in the Wild, fortunately, falls on the better end of the Christmas rom-com scale. Its big pluses start with its setting. It’s wonderful to see a Christmas movie set in Africa instead of the usual faux-Victorian or New England town with evergreen trees, heavily be-ribboned wreaths, and enough tinsel to circle the globe. The movie also ties into a critical issue about elephant conservation which gives it more heft than the usual fluffy story.
Mature viewers will share my enthusiasm for a romantic story featuring a woman over forty. It can get tedious for those of us in our middle years to view a constant parade of youthful heroines with taut skin and even tighter abs. Kate has earned her wrinkles, and the filmmaker isn’t afraid to show them. Holiday in the Wild reminds us that none of us get through life without challenges – but those battle scars don’t preclude future happiness.Directed by Ernie Barbarash. Starring Rob Lowe, Kristin Davis, Feliz Mpela, John Owen Lowe. Running time: 85 minutes. Theatrical release November 1, 2019. Updated December 16, 2020
Watch the trailer for Holiday in the Wild
Holiday in the Wild
Rating & Content Info
Why is Holiday in the Wild rated TV-PG? Holiday in the Wild is rated TV-PG by the MPAA
Violence: There is mention of animal poaching. A baby elephant is seen next to its dead mother.
Sexual Content: There is occasionally kissing between a man and woman. There is oblique mention of a sexual relationship between an unmarried couple.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters drink alcohol in social settings. A main character gets mildly intoxicated.
Page last updated December 16, 2020
Holiday in the Wild Parents' Guide
What helps Kate find a new sense of direction for her life? What is really important to you? Why does it matter?
Elephant conservation is a critically important issue as poachers and habitat destruction reduce the numbers of these amazing animals. For more information about saving elephants, check the following links:
Related home video titles:
If you can’t get enough of elephants, you can follow these majestic creatures in Elephant, a documentary made by Disneynature.
If seasonal romances are what you’re looking for, there are plenty of new options this year. Midnight at the Magnolia sees two good friends pretending to be an item – and you know how that’s going to turn out. In Operation Christmas Drop, a congressional aide travels to Guam to investigate a charitable program which drops gifts on remote Pacific islands. A physician reluctantly cares for an injured royal who rejected her years ago in Christmas with a Prince.