Historically, actresses playing military wives come off as hollow, very flat, one-dimensional. In short, something is always missing. As a movie goer, we tend to let it go because we are used to whatever it is that is missing, being missing for the entire movie. We can't name it, we can't place it, we don't have a box for it. But, it's still there.
"American Sniper" is different. I believe Sienna Miller as Taya Kyle, wife of the legendary sniper, Chris Kyle. I believe her with my whole body in nearly every single circumstance. I don't want to know how or why she was able to pull it off because I think that'll ruin it for me.
So here are the 5 ways Sienna Miller got it right:
1. Where she is so over him at the bar
How many of military spouses started off with a military guy wearing the "there is no way, no how I'm hooking up with a military guy" hat? More than most. The way Sienna pulled that off in the bar was amazing. Just the right amount of being able to see through Bradley Cooper's BS balanced with "Ok, he's hot, but still" attitude. We knew it was going to happen, but damn if she didn't make us believe it wouldn't.
2. When they are dancing at their wedding and she puts her hand right there on his chest
That moment was perfect because it signified all that was coming. We've all had our hand in that very same place over and over. It always means the same thing: Something is coming and it probably isn't good. But, I'm going to stand by you no matter what. Somehow, Sienna captured that -- all with the touch of her hand.
3. When she puts the crib together
Alone. While on the phone with her husband overseas somewhere. I believed that moment completely. We've all been there, doing something that was meant for two, by ourselves. In that moment? Sienna was well on her way to being a military spouse.
4. Outside the hospital
Sienna Miller performing the scene outside the hospital when Taya Kyle is on the phone with her husband and hears gunshots. (Photo: Warner Bros.)
You remember? When she was on the phone with him, and she heard gunfire? She yelled and screamed for him, falling to her knees and crying. That moment was about as real as it will ever get. That moment was it. The worst fear, the moment we dread and the moment that to me was probably the most believable . . . except for one.
5. When he's leaving and she obviously knows something is "off"
When Sienna watches Bradley leave their home for the last time, something obviously didn't feel right to her. She captures that essence, that sense of death looming so perfectly. We've all been there when we sense something is off, but we can't put our fingers on it and can't wrap our hands around its neck to keep it from happening.