How can and why does a Texas family believe that a 23 year old Frenchman of Algerian descent is their missing blond-haired, blue-eyed teenage son? Bart Layton’s The Imposter won’t fully answer that question for you, but I assure you, your jaw will drop as you watch the story unfold. Before you see this film, I advise you to not read the Wikipedia article about Frédéric Bourdin, who impersonated Nicholas Barclay, the 13 year old boy in question. If you can’t resist (I couldn’t after watching the trailer), it won’t affect the way you see the film too much as there are plenty of surprises in store.

The unbelievable story is told through home videos, news footage, reenactments, and first-person interviews with Bourdin, Barclay’s relatives, and American investigators (including a very memorable PI). The documentary, particularly Bourdin’s explanation of how and why he decided to become Nicholas, will suck you in as it chronicles the sensational events surrounding the missing boy’s sudden appearance in a Spanish orphanage three years later. While I was not a huge fan of the reenactments, they were tastefully done and flowed naturally in between the interviews and footage. Most importantly, they didn’t detract from the prolonged WTF moment I was having while watching the film. If you too feel like experiencing that moment this weekend, go see The Imposter.

 

Subscribe