Rose Island movie review (2020)

Streaming on Netflix

Rose Island trailer

Rating: 3/5

Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Cast: Elio Germano, Matilda De Angelis, Leonardo Lidi, Tom Waschiha, Alberto Astorri

Based on a true story, the Italian comedy, Rose Island, is as light-hearted and irreverent as the times it is set in – the swinging sixties. Sixties was when youth defied the establishment to live life on their own terms. It was a time of cultural revolution that changed music, lifestyle, fashion and much else. In Italy, there were student protests against the political and religious establishment of the time.

Against this background, steps in our hero – Giorgio Rosa (played by Elio Germano) who is an idealist and talented engineer. He has built his own car with some metal and his grandmother’s sofa and now he wants to build his own country! With enthusiastic support from his rich friend, Maurizio (played by Leonardo Lidi), Giorgio builds an island off the coast of Italy, outside its territorial waters. Not more than an oil rig, Rose Island starts attracting wannabe citizens from all over Italy, Europe, and the US. There are wild parties daily on the island and the media hype starts attracting unwanted attention from the Italian government. How long can Giorgio hold out against the powerful establishment?

Elio Germano seems miscast as Giorgio – he looks less like a newly graduated engineer and more like a middle-aged father of two. At times, the story does not flow seamlessly. For example, after repeatedly telling him that his ideas are too grandiose, Giorgio’s ex-girlfriend, Gabriella (played by Matilda de Angelis) has a change of heart. What convinced her to go back to him? That part is not very clear in the movie nor is it explored thoroughly.

However, Rose Island is a funny and entertaining watch. It highlights a forgotten story from history and the movie tries to provide as much historical detail as possible. For example, in a shot of the United Nations HQ in New York, we see from the windows of the Secretary General’s office the construction of the Twin Towers that were eventually inaugurated in the early 1970s. Such attention to detail can be seen in the movie’s costumes and delightful, tiny Italian cars of the sixties.