The First Lady weighed in on the controversial film on Friday, speaking to industry leaders in film and television to launch a new effort to expand public understanding of veterans' issues.
"I had a chance to see 'American Sniper' this week on that long flight we took," she said, referring to her trip to Saudi Arabia earlier in the week.
Obama called the film a "complex, emotional depiction of a veteran and his family."
The film portrays Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's career as a sniper and the impact of the Iraq war on he and his family.
"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," Obama said.
"Here's why a movie like this is important: see, the vast majority of Americans will never see these stories. They will never grasp these issues on an emotional level without portrayals like this," she said. "For all those folks in America who don't have these kinds of opportunities, films and TV are often the best way we have to share those stories."
"American Sniper" has topped box office expectations, grossing more than $200 million and counting.