First Lady Michelle Obama spoke out against critics of American Sniper on Friday, saying the film is a “complex, emotional depiction of a veteran and his family.”
Obama appeared alongside the film’s star, Bradley Cooper, at an event for the Got Your 6 organization at the National Geographic Society in Washington on Friday. Got Your 6 “works to normalize the depictions of veterans on film and television to dispel common myths about the veteran population.”
Obama said she had watched American Sniper on a recent plane ride back from India and Saudi Arabia, according to the Hill.
“I had a chance to see American Sniper this week on that long flight we took,” Obama said. “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.”
“Now I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it,” Obama continued, “but this movie reflects those wrenching stories that I’ve heard – the complex journeys that our men and women in uniform endure. The complicated moral decisions they are tasked with every day.”
Seth Rogen tweeted that the film reminded him of the Nazi propaganda film included in the movie Inglorious Basterds. Michael Moore called snipers “cowards.” Both men have since tried to walk back their remarks.
Howard Dean became the latest to criticize the film when he recently called people who watched it “very angry.” Dean later apologized to veterans, but maintained that he will “make no apologies” to “thousands of right-wing nut jobs.”
Still, the film’s success at the box office is a testament to its popularity; on Thursday, numbers tracker Box Office Mojo predicted American Sniper would easily take the top spot at the box office for a third weekend in a row. The film has already broken several box office records and has grossed roughly $217 million in the U.S. in its first two weeks of release.
Cooper also spoke at the Got Your 6 event, noting that at a recent screening, a veteran stood up after the film ended and thanked him for “getting it right.”
“The content we create can have a big impact,” Cooper said, according to USA Today. “American Sniper is an example of that. It’s not just a story about a soldier, but a family.