Much has been said and written about Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper – which now ranks as No. 1 war movie at the box office. It has made almost $250 million, beating Saving Private Ryan as the highest-grossing war movie of all time.
However, despite its chart-busting success at the box office and generally positive reviews, American Sniper is also one of the most controversial Hollywood productions of all time.
In addition, award-winning author/journalist Karen Spears Zacharias shared a most thought-provoking opinion on the movie last month.
She weighed in on why she decided not to watch the war movie despite being the daughter of an American soldier who served in the Vietnam War.
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Zacharias gives two reasons for her reluctance to watch American Sniper. First, she mentioned how his father, after getting fatally injured in the battlefield, begged for his life from a military doctor who tried his best to save the fallen soldier.
“Maybe that's why I can't see the movie. When you have experienced firsthand the multitude of ways war wreaks havoc on families, you have little tolerance for the myth making that war always seems to invoke. Not to mention the patriotic, almost nationalistic fervor that accompanies a flag-draped coffin,” she wrote.
And the second reason Zacharias stated involved a friend of hers who went through post-traumatic stress after a sniper's bullet which struck him on May 28, 1970, broke his lower jaw and all of his teeth. She added how, after almost five decades, he still couldn’t forget the sniper who shot him.
The author concluded by saying how Hollywood needs to stop dividing the world into us vs. them through its movies like American Sniper. She wrote:
“Hollywood has a way of fictionalizing war, of making it all about ‘us’ and ‘them.’ ‘Ragheads’ was one of the names Kyle gave to the Iraqi people. He said he didn't give a "flying f**k about the Iraqis.’ Kyle dehumanized them.”
“I have traveled to my father's battlefield in Vietnam and I have befriended Vietnamese who lost even more than I did during the war. I have learned there is no 'us' and 'them.' There is only ‘us.’ Humanity. All of us.”
It goes without saying that Zacharias is right. If only Hollywood understood.