Friday, December 20, 2019

'Tis the Season - Holiday in the Wild (2019)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Holiday in the Wild (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: TV-PG
Production/Distribution: Advantage Entertainment, Netflix
Director: Ernie Barbarash
Writer: Neal H. Dobrofsky, Tippi Dobrofsky
Actors: Kristin Davis, Rob Lowe, Fezile Mpela, John Owen Lowe, Colin Moss, Keeno Lee Hector, Thandi Puren, Waldemar Schultz, Hayley Owen, Lynita Crofford, Kgahliso Solomon, Tapiwa Musvosvi, Renate Stuurman, Faniswa Yisa, Chanelys Garcia Nyapisi

Blurb from IMDb: Jilted by her husband on the eve of embarking on an African safari, a woman travels to the continent alone where she meets an elephant conservationist.

Selina’s Point of View:
This was exactly the kind of movie I needed to watch today. As much as I love Christmas movies, they all seem to run together at some point during December. I give the majority of them the benefit of the doubt, though. My thought has been that you can’t really do much different when you’re working with the same themes over and over. There’s bound to be overlap.

I’m not saying there wasn’t any of that overlap in this film, just a hell of a lot less than usual.

Holiday in the Wild, first of all, takes place mostly in Africa. That means there’s only a few scenes involving snow and none of them revolve around it. That setting, alone, changes things up so much. Instantly, I felt like I was getting a break from the typical Christmas movie.

Add on to that the plot. You will find no Santa in this film. No shopping for gifts or materialism. The main characters will not fall in love after only three days. There’s no love triangle and there’s minimal family drama, even though it seems like there’ll be more in the very beginning. Some of the movie doesn’t even take part during the holidays, though I can still confidently call it a holiday film.

This movie embraces all the ideas that make me enjoy Christmas flicks. There’s the importance of loved ones, the feeling of miracles and joy in the air, internal betterment for the main character, charity, and love. Not just romantic love, either. There’s love for other living creatures/family, sure, but it also focuses heavily on love for oneself. I think that’s a lesson some of us will be trying to learn for the rest of our lives: how to love ourselves.

I found Holiday in the Wild to be so much more realistic than most holiday films. Time passes. People change – but not overnight. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, really.

The actors were amazing in their parts. Kristin Davis (Sex and the City, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, The Knight Before Christmas), Rob Lowe (The Knight Before Christmas, Super Troopers 2, The Grinder), and Fezile Mpela (While You Weren’t Looking, A Million Colours, Shadow) were perfect choices for their characters. There was not a flawed moment between them. By the end, they had me absolutely verklempt.

I’d be remiss to not discuss the social commentary aspect of the film. But I don’t have much to say about it. Elephant poachers are some of the scum of the Earth and if you have a chance to donate to a sanctuary or help save one of those majestic, hunted, creatures, you should. That’s all I have to say about that. The movie didn’t come off preachy, and it raised awareness. Nothing else needs to be said.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 43%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 49%
Metascore – 49/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.1/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating4/5

Movie Trailer:

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