Holiday in the Wild

Elephants on Charade

Main Cast: Kristin Davis, Rob Lowe

Director: Ernie Barbarash

This is part of my Netflix Holiday Movie Round-Up. Click the link to find the rules and see a complete list of the holiday movies I’ve watched and graded.


Kate (Kristin Davis) has just sent her only child off to college and plans on reconnecting with her husband over an exotic second honeymoon in Africa. Instead, he leaves her and she goes on the trip alone. It’s time to find a purpose, Kate! And maybe love! What will she find on her Holiday in the Wild?


I suppose this one falls into the category of second chances. Kate has lived most of her adult life supporting her husband and discovers that maybe he was right – theirs wasn’t a happy life. But she will have to take advantage of the opportunities placed in front of her if she wants a change.

Message Delivery

So here’s where we get a little off track, for Holiday in the Wild is not really a holiday movie at all! I know – I am also shocked by this release date/poster art trickery. The events in the movie begin in September and yes, Christmas does arrive, but it isn’t a movie centered on the holiday.

Is that good or bad? Who’s to say? But I can tell you that Christmas isn’t used to beat us over the head for an hour and a half with obvious truths and that’s sort of refreshing. We enjoy the ride as Kate rediscovers her independence and meets Derek the pilot (Rob Lowe) and finds some new reasons to get up in the morning. We get our holiday cheer, just a smaller slice than usual.

Cast and Performances  

I enjoyed this cast a lot. Kristin Davis is a little stiff as Kate, but I love that the leads are older than 25 and kicking around some slightly more mature dilemmas. Rob Lowe is beautiful and affable as the lonely bush pilot, and the supporting cast is solid. Nobody’s going to win an Oscar here, but nobody is painful to watch, either.

Honorable Mention

The scenery!  Because Derek is a pilot we get some incredible aerial shots of African wildlife, and we get to meet quite a few elephants. A big tip of the hat as well to elephant conservation featuring predominantly in a holiday movie – this is an unexpected and entirely welcome addition to the genre. For some of you the gorgeous location and the focus on elephants will be far more of an enticement than the holidays or the romance. And that’s fine by me.

Overall Feel Good Rating

Holiday in the Wild is a not-quite-holiday movie. It has more Wild than Holiday. But it’s beautiful, the cast does a decent job, and the script offers something for an older demographic than your typical holiday fare. Both humans and animals get second chances and that’s a rather nice message as well. It isn’t going to challenge anyone intellectually but who cares? It gets a solid B, and I forgive it for masquerading as more of a holiday movie than it really is.

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