The fifth film of an amazing series in a Czech-Austrian co-production. The last part of narrative historical films about the famous Habsburg ruler Maria Theresa is situated between 1760 and 1780. Marie Terezie does not understand why her husband, Francis Stephen, is constantly dealing with the financial problems of the monarchy, when her priority is to ensure lasting peace and prosperity of the monarchy through marriage diplomacy. At the same time, both parents miss how their first-born son Joseph, who is to become the successor to the Habsburg throne, goes through a difficult adolescence. In addition to introduce the life of Maria Theresa and the time of her reign, the series gives us the opportunity to witness the thorny journey of Joseph II. from a privileged, and at the same time neglected by his parents, child through the difficult years of co-rule with his mother, to the final reconciliation with the legacy of father and mother.
His first marriage to the charming Isabella of Parma ends in tragic disappointment. At a time of smallpox epidemic in which Joseph's siblings are dying, the Empress must, with tears in her eyes, suppress her mother's despair and complete her plan to unite European countries. She forces Joseph to remarry, this time Maria Josepha Bavarian, who does not match Isabel's charm. In the aggravated situation, Joseph sets himself sharply against his father, whom he perceives as a rascal. Only after the death of Francis Stephen and the subsequent conflict with his mother did Joseph realize the role his father really played in the running of the empire. And only after his mother's death will he understand how important the legacy of both parents is for the future of the monarchy. Is there something only he can do? Aaron Friesz excels in the role of Joseph. His performance will certainly be remembered by the audience as well as the excellent performance of Vojtech Kotek in the role of Francis Stephen and the exceptional portrayal of the role of Maria Theresa played by Ursula Strauss.
The final part of the whole pentalogy is the best without debate. Great spectator experience, fantastic camera, amazing costumes, wonderful atmosphere (true, the digital Alps spoil it a bit, but there are worse things). Excellent Aaron Friesz in the role of Joseph II. and brilliantly dubbed by Jan Cina. It was my cup of tea and I'm glad that this series was created. Every time I watch this mini-series, I just ask myself why Czech Television did not include at least English subtitles in those DVDs. Maria Theresa is without a doubt my favorite work from Czech Television in the last years. The mini-series Bozena was also great and successful, but this? This is much much more than that! An absolute gem!