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Movie Review

When Kate booked a second honeymoon to go on safari in Africa, she thought it would be the perfect opportunity to reconnect with her husband after sending their son to college. What she didn’t expect was a divorce and an awkward “trip for two” spent alone.

So she decides to make the most of the trip and soon meets elephant conservationist (and part-time safari tour guide) Derek. While giving Kate a safari tour, Derek discovers an injured baby elephant. After arranging for the orphaned animal to be taken to the elephant nursery where he works, Derek prepares to return Kate to her resort. However, Kate’s motherly instincts take over, and she decides to stay with the elephant to help nurse it back to health.

Kate soon takes on a position as a full-time vet (her career before she had her son) for the nursery. But the more time she spends with the elephants, the more she feels like she belongs there and the harder it becomes to return home.

Positive Elements

When Kate first arrives in Africa, she is little more than a tourist, unsure of what she wants to do with her life. But working with the elephants helps Kate to rediscover herself. She remembers how much she enjoyed caring for animals before her son was born, and she realizes how much she loves the new family she has found at the nursery.

Derek initially comes off as a bit of a player, always expecting the women he gets involved with to return home from their African vacations after a couple of weeks. However, when Kate decides to extend her “vacation” in order to keep working with the elephants, his heart softens. Derek realizes he’s finally met someone who loves these creatures as much as he does.

Derek and Jonathan (another worker at the nursery) have made the preservation and reintegration of elephants into the wild their lives’ work. They treat the animals almost like humans, explaining to Kate that elephants can feel the same range of emotions as humans. This, as well as their familial bond to the creatures, is what fuels Derek and Jonathan’s enthusiasm to save as many elephants as they can.

When Kate’s son announces his decision to drop out of college in order to pursue his passion for music, Kate feels as if she has failed him by not being present. But he tells her that it was her courage to go after what she wanted that inspired him. The two of them eventually compromise and decide that he will still go to college, but study music instead.

Kate’s soon-to-be ex-husband redeems himself a bit by purchasing a plane ticket for their son to visit Kate in Africa and by donating money to the elephant nursery to keep it open.

Spiritual Content

Everyone at the elephant nursery celebrates Christmas together. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Silent Night” can both be heard in the background.

Someone says it’s good luck to name a plane after a woman.

Sexual Content

Kate and Derek kiss three times. A man and woman greet each other with double cheek kisses. When a man hugs a woman, his friend gives him a questioning look. He shrugs, saying, “It’s the holidays.”

A woman accidentally walks in on a man wearing pants, but no shirt, as he dries his hair with a towel after a shower. He later says that she did that on purpose.

Kate wears several dresses and tops that bare cleavage. At one point, Derek tells her to remove her shirt (she has a tank top on underneath). She balks at the suggestion, but he just wants to use the shirt to cover a baby elephant’s eyes so it won’t be afraid of them.

Violent Content

A dead elephant lies on the ground, blood pouring from where poachers removed its tusks.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is misused once. The British expletive “bloody” is heard once, as is “gosh.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Kate pops open a bottle of champagne and drinks directly from it. When she meets Derek, she is sipping martinis in a restaurant bar; he later jokes about that encounter. Derek offers Kate a drink from his flask of “eggnog,” which turns out to be just whiskey. Adults drink wine, beer and whiskey.

Other Negative Elements

Kate’s husband is work-obsessed, interrupting important family time for business calls. After he leaves her, Kate throws all his clothes into trash bags and leaves them on a street curb with the sign “free clothes.”

Once she’s in Africa, Kate talks poorly about him, pointing out the career she had to give up in order to put him through grad school, help build his business and raise their son. Her son openly wonders why they stayed together so long, since they didn’t really have much in common.

Derek tells Kate that humans are the most dangerous creatures in Africa. Later, they find an animal that has been killed for its ivory tusks, proving his point.

Two men talk about gambling and playing poker. Derek talks about how his wife passed away. A woman admits that she only funded the elephant nursery because of her romantic interest in Derek.

Conclusion

Holiday in the Wild is everything you expect in a feel-good romantic comedy on the Hallmark Channel. Romance, humor, adorable elephants … it really has it all. Except it’s not on Hallmark. Holiday in the Wild is streaming on Netflix, which seems increasingly willing to borrow Hallmark’s proven rom-com formula.

Derek’s flirting may be cause for some pause, since it teeters right on the edge of being inappropriate (especially since Kate isn’t officially divorced yet). However, after he falls in love with Kate, he hangs up his “player” behavior and puts his career at risk, knowing that it’s better to have a relationship that’s real and honest rather than one that’s simply convenient.

But despite being a story about romance, Holiday in the Wild doesn’t feel too romantic. Kate comes to Africa for a vacation and winds up meeting someone new—herself. Yes, Derek is there too, but Kate really discovers—or perhaps rediscovers—who she truly is as a person and what she cares about deeply. She felt lost with her son off to school and her husband leaving. But in the end, Kate rekindles an unexpected passion to create a new family from the friends around her.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Kristin Davis as Kate; Rob Lowe as Derek; Fezile Mpela as Jonathan; John Owen Lowe as Luke; Colin Moss as Drew; Thandi Puren as Trish; Hayley Owen as Leslie

Director

Ernie Barbarash ( )

Distributor

Netflix

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

November 1, 2019

On Video

November 1, 2019

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Emily Baker

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
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