Holiday in the Wild – 6th December

Another Netflix Original for today’s film and this time it’s a trip to Zambia. A new film for this year, Holiday in the Wild has a lot of heart and important messages about wild animal conservation. The film is about a woman whose husband leaves her just before they are meant to go on a safari. She ends up going alone and on the way to the luxury hotel, her pilot makes a stop to save a baby elephant. Kate decides instead of living in luxury for two weeks that she will help out at the elephant sanctuary. Back in New York, Kate used to be a vet but gave it up to raise her son while her husband worked.

This all happens in September and when Kate is due to leave, she decides to stay. She also starts bonding with Derek who has lived at the sanctuary since he was sixteen. They bond over their single lives (Derek’s wife died 15 years previously) and start breaking down the barriers they have each held around their hearts. When Christmas rolls around, Kate can’t face going back to her empty apartment for the holidays so stays in Africa. Her son, who is now in college comes to visit her for Christmas Day. I won’t reveal too much more of the story but the plot is predictable enough.

What separated this film from other Christmas love stories is that not all the film is set at Christmas time and the love story is not the main focus. It centres around Kate rediscovering her passion for animals and learning to love elephants. At the end of the film, just before the credits, there is a really important message about elephant conservation and links to some charities.

I enjoyed this film and even though it was cheesy in some parts, it had real heart and the acting felt very natural. A fun fact is that Kate’s son is played by Rob Lowe’s son in real life. I would watch this again but probably next Christmas. It is also suitable for younger audiences. Overall 4/5.

Deck the Halls – 5th December

A fun family film with a nice warm ending. Deck the Halls is a film I re-watched in preparation for the Countdown to Christmas and I had forgotten how funny and entertaining the film is. It centres around two rival neighbours and their families. Steve Finch lives a quiet life until his new neighbours arrive in town. Buddy Hall is a car salesman and moves his family around a lot when he gets bored of a town. After his daughters show him My Earth (A fictional version of Google Earth) and point out that there house isn’t visible, Buddy decides to make his house a massive light display that can be seen from space.

This causes conflicts with Steve who then tries to sabotage the light display in order to get a good night’s sleep. Meanwhile, Steve who is normally king of Christmas, has a run of bad luck. The film is led by Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick with Kristin Davis and Kristin Chenoweth supporting. There are some great scenes with plenty of physical comedy. A sweet ending that puts you right in the Christmas mood and thankful that you aren’t Steve Finch. Wholesome family fun, 3/5.