The 2014 biographical war film American Sniper has captivated audiences around the country. Directed by Clint Eastwood, this film is based on the 2012 autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History written by Chris Kyle. This film quickly broke numerous box office records, including becoming the highest-grossing war film in North America in 2014. It is easy to see why the film was nominated for a staggering six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

This film follows the gripping true story of Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a U.S. Navy SEAL sniper who is considered the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. The film opens with Kyle as a young boy learning to shoot with his father in his home state of Texas. From there, viewers are taken on a tumultuous, yet poignant, journey from an easy, laid-back life in Texas to the war plagued lands of Iraq. Audiences witness the trials and tribulations Kyle endures in order to serve his country. As is the case with many veterans, these memories follow him home and affect not only him, but his family as well. During and after his four tours overseas, Kyle's wife Taya (Sienna Miller) struggles to care for their two children while worrying about her husband. Once he returns, his troubling mood swings and overall attitude threaten his own family, who Kyle risked his life for on the front lines.

The box office number alone reflects the film's immense success. Many critics have applauded Cooper for capturing the true nature of Kyle, both in physical appearance and in his overall demeanor. Others have commended Eastwood for bringing attention to the vast psychological problems that many members of the military face because of the situations they are subjected to while deployed. However, some critics and celebrities have not been as inclined to present this movie with a standing ovation. Filmmaker Michael Moore took to Twitter saying that "snipers aren't heroes" and "snipers [are] cowards that will shoot you in the back." Moore quickly made a statement saying that his comments were not directed at Chris Kyle or the movie, but not before celebrities, politicians, newscasters, and moviegoers voiced their displeasure for Moore and his comments.

As far as war movies go, American Sniper has found its place among the greats. The combat scenes can be compared to Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down and Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. Eastwood was able to recreate intense, life-altering moments that make viewers feel as though they are perched on the rooftop next to Kyle while he serves his country. What this film contains that many others do not is the story of what happens when our soldiers come home. The struggles that they face are immense, and once Kyle overcame his, he used his knowledge to help others who were facing the same demons.

While this film would be filed under the war movie genre, it signifies so much more than that. This film exemplifies how difficult it is for the men and women serving our country to balance their lives on the front lines with their lives back home. This film depicts Chris Kyle as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history but also as a son, brother, husband, father, and friend. He emanates bravery, courage, and heroism. Cooper's exceptional acting captures and preserves Kyle's devotion to his family, friends, fellow troops, and most importantly, his country. American Sniper will carry Chris Kyle's legacy for years to come, which is why it is one of the must-see films of the year.

American Sniper Trailer

Sarah Alstrom is a junior English major with a concentration in Writing. She enjoys shopping, road-trips, and searching for vampires.