American Sniper on American manhood...

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A PCA pastor who did several tours over in the Mideast forwarded this review of American Sniper by Brian McLain. Another brother wrote an excellent response to this review and I hope to be able to publish his response here, also. Anyhow, Brian McLain begins his review:

Thinking back over Clint Eastwood's film-making career - particularly the later years - there has been a reccurring theme of fathers abandoning their children.

A few paragraphs into the review, McLain...


American Sniper is an anti-war film. Eastwood has said so himself: "The biggest anti-war statement any film" can make is to show "the fact of what [war] does to the family..." Eastwood does this by pitting Kyle's real family - his wife and children - against his false family - the military.


The false family - whether truly or symbolically - is always encroaching on the real family. 


After Kyle’s death, Taya told Hall that he needed to tell the truth, but to also remember that their children didn’t know their father and that this film would play a big part in how they perceive him. Eastwood ...directs the criticism toward our culture - a culture in which we praise men who abandon their families for another one. A culture that gushes over youtube videos of little girls breaking down when they see their daddies after a years absence... 

The comment that the children won't know their father except through this movie reminds me of the tragedy of Steve Jobs saying he wanted his biography written because, "I wasn't always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did. I want my kids to know me."

Through the years I've been close to a number of men and women in the military, both enlisted and officers, and several friends have recently done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Readers will join me in honoring our brothers and sisters' military service. That said, American Sniper is a blockbuster and we should think about it carefully.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!