At the end of every fairy tale, the prince and princess walk into the sunset and live happily ever after. While we would like to believe that this is true both in fiction and IRL, reality and fantasy are two different things entirely.
The new six-part Netflix series, The Empress, is the story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Played by Devrim Lingnau, the expectations for her life are direct and clear. She is to marry an appropriate man and bring children (preferably) boys into the world. At the age of fifteen, Elisabeth (known to those closest to her as Sisi), meets her future husband. Franz Joseph I of Austria (Philip Froissant) is supposed to be betrothed to her older sister.
Instead, they fall madly in love and marry eight months after their first meeting. While in the glows of newlywed bliss, both Franz and Elisabeth are trying to find their footing. She is unaware and unprepared for the constricted and controlled life of an Empress. Franz is balancing married life, his job (so to speak), and his overbearing mother Princess Sophie of Bavaria (Melika Foroutan).
While all of this is happening behind palace walls, a revolution is rumbling within the working and lower classes. Fed up with poverty, low wages, and being ignored/disrespected, they are agitating for their rights.
I enjoyed the series. Though Sisi is not as well known as some of her contemporaries (i.e. Queen Victoria), it is a fascinating coming-of-age story. Rebellious, headstrong, and a bit naive, she has no idea of the rough road ahead of her.
My only issue is that there are some elements that are too modern for the period.
Other than that, do I recommend it? Yes.
The Empress is available for streaming on Netflix.