So it’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a foreign film – my favorite category for sure – and since I’ve seen Three Steps Above Heaven (or merely Tres Metros Sobre El Cielo) a couple of times and I know that some of you might like a good ol’ cliché-ish love story, I’m gonna introduce you to this Spanish romantic drama that made every woman on the Balkans go bananas for Mario Casas. One of my friends introduced me to the movie and she said “if you don’t believe in true love, you will now” – oh really?! Before you start believing that her statement is true, I’m gonna burst your bubble and say that 1) Three Steps Above Heaven doesn’t portray true love, and 2) movies don’t equal reality (in this case, thankfully so). And I don’t mean to sound like an anti-love person because I am not – I love love. I just don’t love love movies. However, I’m objective and I’ll try to give credit where it’s due although this movie will make it quite a challenge.
Three Steps Above Heaven is about two young people from two different worlds – Babi is an upper-class girl with strict parents and Hache is a rebellious bad boy who loves motorbikes races and hates his parents. One day, Hache randomly spots Babi in a car and yells “ugly!”, and a few days later it turns out that they have friends in common and they are both invited to the same party. After a lot of what borders to harassment from Hache’s part, the couple fall in love but Babi’s parents don’t approve. Although Babi and Hache’s lovestory seems ‘perfect’ throughout the movie, it ends semi tragically.
I must admit that, when I watched it for the first time, I enjoyed this movie, but it is very cheesy and predictable with many unrealistic elements, such as Babi’s friend Catina falling in love with a guy after catching him steal from her. As for the characters themselves, Babi is extremely annoying and a typical naïve teenage girl who, in my opinion, is both a shitty girlfriend and an ever worse friend. And although the movie wants us to feel otherwise, Babi doesn’t come off likeable. Hache is, as they would say in Spanish, a proper hijo de puta who beats up people for no reason but at least he has a problematic background story, so you kind of understand his behavior. However, what I absolutely despise about Three Steps Above Heaven is that, first of all, it justifies violence and men treating women with disrespect. When Hache calls Babi ‘ugly’ in one of the very first scenes, she gets a shy smile on her lips. So a guy needs to insult a girl to be with her? Not in my world. Secondly, this movie reinforces the stereotypes of men being violent, brutal and emotionless while portraying women as weak, too emotional and dependent. Hache harasses Babi numerous times but she keeps running back to him – and this is a recurrent behavior throughout the movie. What is supposed to be a romantic story is full of negative messages that need to be ignored if you don’t wanna get frustrated.
I also gotta give credit where it’s due, so I must say that Three Steps Above Heaven does contain positive things too that makes it a fine movie choice for a girls’ night. Although the characters are poorly written and the script is bad, the actors do a good job. I had seen Mario Casas in a Spanish comedy series Los Hombres de Paco where he was much younger and his talent was obvious – though his character was somewhat similar to the one in Three Steps Above Heaven. I have also seen him after this movie and he is destined to have a long successful career not only in Spain but internationally as well. I admit that he is easy on the eyes but why his character is being glamourized and praised by so many girls is beyond me. Apart from the cast, the photography, the soundtrack and setting are all beautiful – you get to see some amazing shots from Barcelona and that never disappoints.
Taking everything I spend so much time babbling about into account, I will give Three Steps Above Heaven two out of five clapperboards because of its cheesiness, predictable story, and wrong messages that are disrespectful to both genders. In my opinion as a big film fanatic, films should empower us in one way or another but this movie fails to do so. As I already said, if you decide to watch this movie, try to ignore the negative elements and at least watch it for Mario Casas’s performance and the beautiful Spanish language.