The True Story That Inspired Netflix's New 'Rose Island' Movie Is More Than Enough to Get Us to Watch

*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*

Have you considered packing your bags and heading off the grid at some point during this hellish year? If yes, you’ll totally empathize with the protagonist of Netflix’s Rose Island, a new movie about a man who builds his own private island off the coast of Italy in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. (We know, sounds dreamy.)

Just released in the U.S. on December 9, it’s an Italian film by Sydney Sibilia based on the true story of engineer Giorgio Rosa, who founded his own independent nation just off the Rimini coast in 1968. Read on for details.

1. What is Rose Island About?

The story is well-known among Rimini natives, but if you live outside the area, odds are you’ve never heard of Rosa’s construction. Rosa built a massive platform suspended by steel pylons in the ocean just outside Italian jurisdiction, declared it an independent state and made himself president of the Republic of Rose Island (aka L'Isola delle Rose). As seen in the preview, the platform became home to a restaurant, bar, post office and what looks like a massive dance floor. Tourists and foreigners seeking citizenship flocked to the new nation, much to the dismay of Italian authorities. The film appears to ring true with an emphasis on Rosa’s quest for freedom.

2. Who’s in the Cast?

Elio Germano, winner of a Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor in La Nostra Vita, plays Rosa. Luca Zingaretti of Inspector Montalbano fame plays Prime Minister Giovanni Leone and François Cluzet plays Jean Baptiste Toma. You may recognize Matilda De Angelis, who plays the role of Gabriella, from HBO's The Undoing. Actor and screenwriter Fabrizio Bentivoglio plays Franco Restivo, an Italian politician.

3. Is There a Trailer?

You bet, and boy, does it make us want to hop on a plane and start over in the middle of the ocean somewhere. It kicks off with Gabriella telling Rosa he’s living in his own world and needs to come back to reality, to which he responds, “Maybe I should build my own world.” Rosa’s genius streak (hello, he drives his own self-built car that doesn’t even have a license plate) and penchant for independence and rebellion (he goes toe-to-toe with the Italian government a lot) shine through, and we can’t wait to go along for the ride.

4. Why Should You Watch?

People are singing the movie’s praises via social media calling it witty and inspiring. One tweeter familiar with Rimini’s greatest story said, “Having spend all my childhood summers in Rimini, I had heard the story of #RoseIsland hundreds of times. With some details changing every time, like an ancient myth or a legend. And it was amazing to finally see it on screen.” Our reaction was more like this tweeter’s: “After watching the movie on Netflix, I went to Google and I’m shook. History is very sweet…manmade history.”

So yeah, it sounds the like the movie is worth a watch based on merit alone. But honestly, who isn’t aching for a taste of sweet freedom (and vacation) right about now?

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taryn pire
Taryn Pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...
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