A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Holiday in the Wild is a romantic story set in Africa that's intended to entertain but also to provide audiences with a look at the plight of orphan elephants in the wild whose parents have been slaughtered by ivory poachers. Most of the action takes place on site at Lilayi Elephant Orphanage in Zambia. With the exception of a scene in which the heroes discover an elephant calf standing beside his dead mother, and a later sequence during which a baby elephant is briefly missing, there's no suspense or violence. Lots of information is presented about rescue, recovery, and the preparation necessary for the animals' return to the wild. Characters consume alcohol. Wholesome and enlightening, the movie is fine for older kids and up.
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What's the story?
After Kate's (Kristin Davis) longtime husband announces that he's leaving her in HOLIDAY IN THE WILD, the shattered woman uncharacteristically decides to go on a planned second honeymoon by herself. Their son, Luke (John Owen Lowe), is on his way to college, so her nest is truly empty. Summoning her courage, and hoping to recover from the rejection, Kate journeys to Africa, where a luxury resort and safari have been booked. Unexpectedly, however, the two-seater plane on its way to the facility makes an unforeseen stop. Derek (Rob Lowe), the pilot, has seen something from the air and landed. They discover an elephant calf standing beside his mother, who has been killed by poachers. Kate, a veterinarian once upon a time, stays with Derek to help transport the traumatized baby to an elephant orphanage. Immediately bonding with the calf she names Manu, and intrigued by the activism at the shelter, Kate decides to stay and help. It isn't long before both Kate's recovery and Manu's recovery go hand in hand.
Is it any good?
The remarkable images of elephants living in the unique beauty of Africa, along with the inspiring story of their human protectors, counter a routine story about self-discovery and falling in love. It's a sincere production, with amiable performances and efficient directing. The music is just right. The cinematography captures both the spirit and the specialness of the animals and the region. Holiday in the Wild is fine for kids who are willing to sit still for a little mushiness and emotional unrest. They should appreciate other aspects of the film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the filmmaking team's intentions in making Holiday in the Wild. Does knowing that Kristin Davis is an activist who supports the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: Haven for Elephants and Rhinos add insight into their intentions? Were you aware of the important issues this film addresses?
Talk about the music in Holiday in the Wild. It seems to have been carefully chosen. How did its authenticity contribute to the film's tone and enrich the setting?
Movies are cultural game-changers in some instances. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Explain your answer. What did you take away from this film? What other movies have inspired you to take action or informed your beliefs?
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