Nevertheless, Fateful Years captures the glamor as well as the frustration of the Empress' youthful life, as did the other two films. Sissi's childlike manner, both wise and vulnerable, captures the hearts of all who meet her, including the most anti-Austrian Hungarian rebels. There are foreshadowings of the sorrows to come, as when Sissi playfully permits a Gypsy woman to read her palm, and as she walks away the Gypsy looks after her in horror, saying "that poor woman." As her relationship with her husband becomes increasingly strained, Sissi withdraws into her own world in which she finds interests to combat a growing depression. Her love of riding and hunting and her fascination with ancient Greece are shown in the film. However, the impression is given that Sissi was able to take charge of her own children but that did not happen until Archduchess Valerie was born.
In spite of the historical lapses of the film, its beauty still makes me wish for a fourth installment, but actress Romy Schneider would not do it. She later said: "Sissi sticks to me like oatmeal."