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Parent reviews for American Sniper

Common Sense says

Powerful, personal, violent story of war and its aftermath.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 29 reviews
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 January 17, 2015

Tale of the Legend pulls back the curtain

I was completely unfamiliar with the story of Chris Kyle, a man whose life is certainly worth bringing to the big screen. With Clint Eastwood's solid, action-heavy direction, the movie places you right in the center of Kyle's Navy SEAL team coming in to Iraq post-9/11. Kyle is the current holder of most kills for a US sniper, and with that title comes an enormous weight that you can tell the man couldn't shake off. Cooper, in what might be his finest role to date, cements himself as one of the top five best actors working today, and if he keeps making movies like this, maybe one of the GOATs. He transforms into this bulky, confident military man with a perfect southern accent and a sense of pride and honor while on tour, and detachment and mild sorrow when he's home with his family. Sienna Miller is fine in the role, she's just limited to when Cooper interacts with her, we don't get much backstory on her character, just that she does love and miss Chris to death. While the action is simultaneously gut-wrenching, well-directed and powerful, some scenes could've been cut for length. When it works though, boy this movie rolls and hits its targets like one of Kyle's bullets, especially some intense scenes of will he/won't he shoot. Cooper truly deserves his Oscar nomination, and "American Sniper," despite some flaws, deserves to be seen before Oscar night. Additionally, leave this one for your older teens. There's graphic war violence and appropriately filthy Navy SEAL language.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written bydany1 January 17, 2015

I'm 15 and I think it's a great movie and the violence wasn't that bad

Adult Written byCWhiton June 3, 2015

Violent killing of a child

While the movie is of the utmost quality (story, acting, cinematography, music, tension and action), there is one key scene about half way into the movie where a 5-7 year old boy is brutally and violently murdered. I have never seen anything like it - the realism and terror portrayed is unbelievable. I understand the director\editor's decision to have us appreciate the horrors of war and to create significant tension for the main character. Mission accomplished. However, I am left with overwhelming horrifying memories of the scene... shadowing the positive impressions of the rest of the movie. Not recommended for kids at all, nor for sensitive parents.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byB-KMastah February 13, 2015

Works as an action movie, not quite as much in any other ways.

I'll be blunt: this movie doesn't deserve any Oscar nominations. I'm not saying it's bad, because it isn't, but this isn't a particularly good--or even memorable--movie. It also may seem that I hate this movie or that I think that it sucks, but I don't. I'm happy that it doesn't suck like Jersey Boys, but other than that, American Sniper didn't really leave an impact on me. The action sequences are good, but when they end, everything deflates. It's not just that the tension from the action scenes end with the scenes (which is fine), but it immediately becomes less interesting. I will say that I was never actually bored, though. In a similar fashion to Jersey Boys, this movie covers a ton of time in a little over two hours. Therefore, it feels uneven. Over twelve years of material make up this story and a lot of the stuff at the beginning feels rushed as hell. Chris Kyle--in about the first ten minutes--finds his wife (or girlfriend, I couldn't tell) cheating on him, then they break up, then he meets Sienna Miller's character at a bar, and then they get married two scenes later, and then he goes to war. It's rare that I want a movie to be longer, but this is one of those rare examples. I'm starting to think that Clint Eastwood just can't pace stuff that well. Chris Kyle and his wife are the only ones with discernible personalities, and that's mostly in part to Cooper and Miller's performances. His kids are just cute little kids and his comrades at war just make little jokes that soldiers typically would. Also in regards to writing, I just don't understand why screenwriters are so hell bent on putting things in non-chronological order. It can totally work: Gone Girl used it to play with our expectations, Wild used it because we were learning about the protagonist as she learned about herself, and We Need to Talk About Kevin used it to illustrate the protagonist's fractured state of mind and self-doubt. The only reason that I can think about it here is that they wanted to make the story appear more interesting than its script actually makes it. It's kind of like the wrote it in a linear fashion and then rearranged stuff just for giggles. Without spoiling anything, the ending was a mixed bag for me. When it started it to end, I was intrigued by the themes being presented and what Cooper's character was going through, and then it just ends. It doesn't even show what actually happens with Chris Kyle, using the words-to-say-what-happened-to-a-real-person-after-the-movie-ends tactic to the nth degree. It totally undercuts the emotional response that that the filmmakers are building for the entire film. Overall, I was simultaneously underwhelmed and perfectly "whelmed" since the movie had much more potential than it actually demonstrates, while part of me also wasn't expecting a lot more than awards season biopic material. If only they would actually go above and beyond, but that's not really the case here. I guess they succeeded in getting a shit-ton of Oscar nominations, though. 6.3/10, okay, one thumb down, average, etc.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written byBig Daddy 1 June 17, 2015

An American Icon!!

Promotes patriotism and that our freedom is not free. Reminds us that we must take out evil before it takes us out. Every family should watch and discuss this true story. Thank you Chris and family.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bycbass46 January 19, 2015

violent

The movie is great and has a good story to it . But in terms of how innapropriate the movie is, I would say defiantly if your bring ing a kid make sure he is a teen and has been exposed to swearing because in this movie swearing is at it's worse, with constant "f*ck, and sh*t" with out the movie. If your kid is in middle school im sure they are fully exposed to swearing at its worst. I would say how violent the movie is , is what you should be the most concerned about, with a kid getting his leg drilled and many sniper scenes witch include kids being shot and women. also includes many body parts severed off like heads and arms . sex scenes should not be considered easy to say there are none besides wife coming out with a bra and panties and another scene witch includes the wife playing with the husbands crotch with her feet under the tabe. in clothes of course.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Parent of a 4, 8, and 12 year old Written bythesmartwealthymom February 20, 2015

American Sniper: Violent. NOT For Kids.

Watching all the best picture nominations while our kids are at grandmas over the entire weekend. Our first viewing was American Sniper at the theater at 9:05am. Brilliant and emotional film. So sad. Everything was perfect except for the stupid fake baby! My Hunny like it and say 4/5. I say 5/5. Bloody War Violence, Sexual Refrences/Strong Language, and Brief Drinking/Drug Use are all a NO for kids.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written bysarge123 February 9, 2015

Very Bloody War Violence and Strong Language. 16+

Adult Written byMovieguy44 June 20, 2015

Extreme disturbing violence

This is to disturbing for kids for instance there is one scene of a young child being tortured with a drill. Or a scene of a boy and her mother suicide bombing. This movie is just too realistic for children

This title contains:

Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written bydarth_bunny September 2, 2015

Know your kid

As i say in most of my review, know your kid! If your kid is sensitive to violence do NOT show them this. However, feel free to have them cover their eyes if you feel uncomfortable with them watching something. I'm not here to tell you how to parent. Great movie though. Clint Eastwood did a heck of a job and all of the actors are great. I did not know about Chris Kyle so the ending was a surprise to me. Great messages of bravery, loyalty, and perseverance. Enjoy!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written byaidanb June 29, 2015

Great Movie

This movie is definitely the best and appropriate in my opinion. It is more sadly thematic than anything else. Not really scary for my kids and they liked it.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bykipwalker44 May 9, 2015

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written byDarkAgentE April 17, 2018

A gritty western combined with a war film.

Now, this may not be the best war film out there, but it certinly is good. It's like a western and a war film combined. We've got Chris Kyle, who dispatches his targets with a gun, and the movie takes place in a very sandy, and desert like area. American Sniper has good performances, non stop action, and gore. The action and battle scenes are intense and gory, and the performances are good. Not very oscar worthy in my opinion but, hey. Overall, a good war film, that I'd recommend to fans of the genre. American Sniper gets a 4/5.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Parent of a 11 and 13 year old Written byTraGro June 7, 2015

Depends on your child

There is a lot I like about this movie. I really admire Chris Kyle and how he stood for what he believed in and would do anything for his country and his fellow comrades. But I had to turn this movie off when I watched it with my 13 year old. The violence affected her so much she started to cry. Another family with same age kids as mine recommended this movie as a "family movie". It is not. It is a war movie plain and simple. A very good war movie that I don't recommend for a young audience. My kids have never played any war video games or ever watched any kind of war movie so they were especially sensitive to what actually goes on in war. It was a lesson for all of us. In a way I like that they got a small taste of what can really go on in this world but I wasn't expecting to have that conversation the night we watched it. I am tagging "too much violence" in the opinion that there is too much for about 13 and younger to watch. Very intense movie.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written bySam Marrick November 19, 2017

Kind of boring honestly.

No overt politics here. Clint feels asleep at the controls here. There isnt much unique psychological analysis or perspective of the subject here. Altho doing so would probably paint a less sympathetic picture less friendly for a wide american release with the kind of patriotic marketting the movie is given. He kind of just does his job in between average at best combat and suspense scenes taht dontbhave the dramatic weight or character involvement as a movie like Hurt Locker nor does it mix its themes and actions as well as a movie like Lone Survivor. Also i never once felt I was experiencing the unique perspective of a sniper. It feels like following a random guy who just happens to pick up a long range rifle at times. Scenes of his family life seem to just tick boxes as we dont get much development of any facet we are shown. The best is a scene where he almost loses it when a nurse takes her sweet time to attend to his crying newborn. Even this isnt built much upon in the future. We just dont see much of a personality in Kyle let alone a reason to look up to him. One scene that did make me feel soemthing was when he snipes a child holding a rifle and his pattner cheers like a kid who just won a match of Call of Duty as Kyle just looks on for any more threats unphased and unenthused. This shows his detachment and dedication to his assignment above all else. To bad nothing else felt like it had more nuance beyond this. It even feels like a run of the mill 90s actioner at worst times. Fairly bloody scenes of combat. Children and women killed when a supposed threat fro. them arises. A bad guy drills a childs leg in a rather tense ultimatum. Decapitated heads on a shelf in one scene. Alot of F words but it fidnt feel like much.