There's a lot to like about Holiday In The Wild. Firstly, while the movie is set around Christmas time, the message is far deeper than that. This is a film about one woman's journey to not only finding a purpose in life but to highlight the plight of elephants in the wild.
I should stress, this isn't Our Planet. It is still a rom-com, it just has a more profound message than most of them. Kate (Kristin Davis) is a New Yorker who has just sent her only child off to college. Preparing to settle into empty nest life, her husband drops a bombshell that he wants a divorce. But Kate had already booked a second honeymoon, on safari in Africa.
Deciding to go alone, she heads off and on the first night there meets Derek (Rob Lowe). The two don't exactly hit it off but it turns out that he is also her tour pilot so they are forced together. On their journey, he spots an elephant in distress. It is in fact a baby whose mother has been murdered by poachers for her ivory tusks. If they can't get the baby to the elephant sanctuary, he will die as baby elephants can't survive on their own in the wild.
Kate is a qualified vet, who gave up her career to support her husband, so while she hasn't practiced in a while, she knows enough to help out. Growing attached to Manu (the baby elephant) she decides to extend her trip in Africa and stay at the sanctuary. This is usually the point where you expect Kate and Derek to fall for each other. Not so in Holiday In The Wild. The focus remains firmly on Kate and her love of the animals, which is refreshing. Though there is always a spark between Davis and Lowe. And of course, this is a romcom so eventually, they get together!
Holiday In The Wild does press a few more buttons than other movies in the genre. Firstly, the conservation message is very clear, and one that should resonate with everybody – children and adults alike. Secondly, the leads are older than the usual 20 somethings that pepper Christmas movies. Thirdly, and most importantly, it is never too late to do something really good with your life. We can't all take off and rescue elephants in the wild but nor do we have to sit back and just do nothing while these beautiful animals are killed for ivory that nobody needs.