Holiday in the Wild is a Christmas story about elephants. And Africa. And people who fall in love with elephants. And Africa. And each other.
Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis star in this holiday, feel-good comedy with a serious message about saving wildlife (and therefore the planet) underpinning most of the story.
The basic story is Kristin Davis as Kate, a lapsed veterinarian from New York City, goes to Africa 2 days after her husband leaves her. She’s headed off for a safari with her pilot Derek (Lowe) when he makes a sudden stop to save a baby elephant.
Instead of going on safari, Kate stays with the elephant. The elephant is taken to an orphan elephant nursery. It’s the Lilayi Elephant Nursery, a real place in South Africa. Kate falls in love with the elephant immediately and ends up staying in Africa for months.
The romance with Derek takes a lot longer to develop. Derek and Jonathan (Fezile Mpela) run the orphanage with help from a foundation. After befriending them both and helping with many elephants, she finally heads back to NYC to deal with her personal situation.
This Netflix film is set around the holidays and is heavily promoted as a holiday film, but the plight of the elephants is an ongoing one and not restricted to holiday viewing. The number of elephants has decreased by 62% in the last decade. That’s largely due to ivory poaching. As Derek says, “Nobody on the planet needs ivory except elephants.”
Holiday in the Wild is a very tame love story set in a wild place. It’s rated PG, but I think it would be suitable for very young kids.
The elephants (there are many) and the scenes of Africa and wildlife are stunning and beautiful. The actors get up close and personal with the elephants. I imagine a casting announcement for the film something like, “Actors needed who aren’t afraid of 13 ton animals as acting partners.” I don’t think they had to look very far for Kristin Davis, however, as she has her own elephant orphanage in Kenya.
I was expecting a formulaic romcom when I switched this one on. When it turned out to be more than that I was happily surprised.
Have a look at the trailer.