*The film “American Sniper” seems to have divided the country along political lines, but it didn’t stop our First Lady from voicing her support of the movie…albeit, during a military-focued event that included the film’s star.
Michelle Obama, who watched the film on Air Force One as she and her husband returned from Saudi Arabia this week, called it “complex,” “emotional” and a realistic “depiction of a veteran and his family” in her remarks at a gathering that included star Bradley Cooper.
“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 the military families I’ve seen over these past few years,” she said. “This movie reflects . . . the complex journeys that our men and women in uniform endure.”
Her remarks followed a panel discussion at National Geographic’s headquarters, where Cooper and four Hollywood producers touted the power of films to change culture.
Cooper’s film was at the center of the conversation, and one panelist called it a “happy coincidence” that their discussion was taking place just as “American Sniper” had become an unexpected box-office hit and nabbed six Oscar nominations.
The blessing from the first lady comes three weeks before the Academy Awards and on the heels of larger debate about the film.
It has been lauded by many movie critics for its humanizing portrayal of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who is known as the “most lethal sniper” in military history. Yet some liberal commentators have criticized it for glorifying war, drawing return fire from a brigade of conservative pundits rushing to defend it.
The endorsement of the movie from a Democratic first lady could throw some cold water on the media-fueled dispute. But Obama did not address the controversy in her comments.
Friday’s event was built around an announcement by Got Your Six — a Hollywood industry group advocating for veterans — that it is launching a new program to certify movies that have employed or consulted veterans during production, with a goal of promoting more “authentic” portrayals in pop culture.