The Clint Eastwood film, American Sniper, has drawn a storm of controversy, but First Lady Michelle Obama called it an honest depiction of military life.
Obama, who said she watched the movie aboard Air Force One during the trip she and President Obama took to India and Saudi Arabia, said the box office draw is a “complex, emotional depiction of a veteran and his family.
“While I know there have been critics, I felt that, more often than not, this film touches on many of the emotions and experiences that I’ve heard firsthand from military families over these past few years,” Obama said.
The movie is based on the bestselling memoir by the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and has raised questions in some quarters about whether he should be considered a hero.
Obama’s remarks came at a filmmakers event on telling veterans’ stories at the National Geographic Society. She told the audience she wouldn’t divulge any spoilers, but said the movie reflects “wrenching stories that I’ve heard, the complex journeys that our men and women in uniform endure .... And the challenges of transitioning back home to their next mission in life.”
Obama, who was preceded at the event by actor Bradley Cooper, who plays Kyle in the movie, called it important to tell such stories, noting that the “vast majority of Americans” may have little contact with the military.
“They will never grasp these issues on an emotional level without portrayals like this,” Obama said.
She said her visits with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed, trips to bases and meetings with caregivers and military spouses “have changed me.
“They’ve made me want to do everything I can to support our troops, veterans and their families,” she said. “But for all those folks in America who don’t have these kinds of opportunities, films and TV are often the best way we have to share those stories.”