The Imposter

Watch The Imposter

"There are two sides to every lie."
  • R
  • 2012
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 7.5  (49,950)
  • 77

The Imposter is a compelling 2012 documentary that tells the true story of a young man who pretends to be someone else to become part of a family that is not his own. Directed by Bart Layton, the film combines interviews, re-enactments, and archival footage to explore the bizarre and unsettling events that occurred in San Antonio, Texas in 1994.

The movie begins with the disappearance of Nicholas Barclay, a 13-year-old boy who was last seen playing basketball with his friends. After months of searching, his family is devastated when they receive news that he has been found in Spain. However, when he returns, they realize that something is not right. The boy who they thought was Nicholas looks different and speaks with a heavy accent. Despite these differences, the family accepts him back into their lives.

It is here that the story becomes even more astonishing. The boy who had returned to San Antonio was actually a 23-year-old Frenchman named Frederic Bourdin. Despite his obvious physical differences, he manages to convince the Barclay family that he is Nicholas, using a combination of lies, manipulation, and naivety on the part of the family. Bourdin goes on to live with the Barclay family for several months, during which time he becomes part of their family dynamic.

The documentary then delves into the motives behind Bourdin’s actions. He explains how he had been impersonating missing children for years, previously passing himself off as a younger-looking teenager in European countries. Despite being caught and jailed several times for his crimes, Bourdin continued to impersonate others, presumably due to an unstable childhood and a need to feel like he belonged somewhere.

The Imposter is a fascinating exploration of deception, betrayal, and trust. Through interviews with the various people involved in the case, the documentary raises questions about the nature of family bonds, the psychology of deception, and the notion of “face value” evidence in criminal investigations. It also explores themes of identity, loneliness, and the lengths that people will go to in order to connect with others.

Layton weaves in various techniques to add depth to the story, including beautifully shot reenactments that lend a sense of theatricality to the proceedings. There are also animated sequences that add an interesting layer of commentary to the events as they unfold. The use of tension-building music and suspenseful editing techniques create a sense of unease in the viewer, amplifying the gravity of the situation.

At its core, The Imposter is a story about the power of storytelling. Bourdin’s ability to spin a convincing tale, combined with the Barclay family’s willingness to believe it, led to a surreal situation that could have ended in tragedy. The documentary serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of trusting someone blindly and the importance of questioning what we see and hear.

Overall, The Imposter is a captivating documentary that tells an incredible true story. It is both a compelling character study of Bourdin and a thought-provoking piece on the fragility of the human psyche. The film explores themes that are relevant to us all, with a mystery that is sure to keep viewers engaged from start to finish.

The Imposter is a 2012 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 77.

The Imposter
Where to Watch The Imposter
The Imposter is available to watch free on Plex, The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Imposter for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (49,950)
  • Metascore