Michelle Obama defends American Sniper

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stand for the American National Anthem before a State Dinner in New Delhi, India on Jan 25, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stand for the American National Anthem before a State Dinner in New Delhi, India on Jan 25, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday defended Clint Eastwood's hit film American Sniper, which has been accused of whitewashing the story of the Iraq war.

"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," she said.

Mrs Obama was speaking at an event encouraging the entertainment industry to accurately portray the experiences of military veterans.

Describing American Sniper as a "complex, emotional depiction of a veteran and his family," she said it reflected "those wrenching stories that I've heard - the complex journeys that our men and women in uniform endure".

Critics on the left have slammed the record-breaking film and say the subject of the movie, former Navy Seal Chris Kyle, deserves no hero treatment for his handiwork as a deadly sniper.

Mrs Obama said the movie also showed "the stresses of balancing love of family with a love of country. And the challenges of transitioning back home to their next mission in life".

The film has so far made more than US$200 million (S$270 million) at the box office.