7.5/10
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The Imposter (2012)

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A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.

Director:

Bart Layton
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 11 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas Barclay Nicholas Barclay ... Himself - Missing Person (archive footage)
Carey Gibson Carey Gibson ... Herself - Nicholas' Sister
Bryan Gibson Bryan Gibson ... Himself - Nicholas' Brother-in-Law
Beverly Dollarhide Beverly Dollarhide ... Herself - Nicholas' Mother
Frédéric Bourdin Frédéric Bourdin ... Himself - Imposter (as Frederic Bourdin)
Nancy Fisher Nancy Fisher ... Herself - Special Agent, FBI (as Nancy B. Fisher)
Philip French Philip French ... Himself - Consul General, U. S. Embassy in Spain (as Phillip French)
Codey Gibson Codey Gibson ... Himself - Nicholas' Nephew
Charlie Parker Charlie Parker ... Himself - Private Investigator
Bruce Perry Bruce Perry ... Himself - Texas Children's Hospital (as Bruce D. Perry)
Allie Hostetler Allie Hostetler ... Herself - Nicholas' Neighbor (as Allie Hosteiler)
Kevin Hendricks Kevin Hendricks ... Himself - Nicholas' Childhood Friend
Adam O'Brian ... Frédéric Bourdin
Anna Ruben ... Carey Gibson
Cathy Dresbach Cathy Dresbach ... Nancy Fisher
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Storyline

A documentary centered on a young man in Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest mystery in the disappearance of Nicholas Barclay began the day he came home. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Avalon [Spain] | Official Facebook

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 August 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Az Imposztor See more »

Filming Locations:

Phoenix, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,379, 15 July 2012

Gross USA:

$898,317

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,999,277
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

High mountains visible in background in at least five scenes including sister's airport departure, Nicholas boarding school bus, kids hanging out in vacant lot. Supposedly set in San Antonio which is in the Texas 'Hill Country' but we see real mountains in the background. End credits reveal recreated scenes were shot in Arizona including Phoenix, Buckeye and Avondale where there are numerous mountain ranges often visible in any direction you look at varying distances. See more »

Quotes

Frédéric Bourdin - Imposter: Before I was born, I definitely had the wrong identity. I already didn't know - I was already prepared not to know who I really was. A new identity with a real passport, an American passport... I could go to the U.S., go to school there, live with that family, and just being someone and don't have never again to worry about being identified. I saw the opportunity.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 73 Questions: 73 Questions with Daniel Radcliffe (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Queen Bitch
Written by David Bowie
Performed by David Bowie
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The less you know about the story, the more you'll enjoy it
9 August 2012 | by ImdbidiaSee all my reviews

This is the documentary, of the many I saw during the Perth Revelation Film Festival 2012, that has stuck to my memory, and the one that fascinated me the most.

The documentary revolves about the vanishing of a 13y.o boy, Nicholas Barclay, for his home in Texas in 1993, to be found in Spain with an apparent amnesia six years later. What happens after the young man call the Spanish Police is the core of the film.

The movie mixes interviews with the protagonist Frédéric Bourdin, Nicholas' family, American FBI and Consular officials, and has very atmospheric re-enactments done with Spanish actors and settings narrating the events occurred in Spain. The story is build up like in a thriller, and it will keep you glued to the screen, wanting to know what is going to happen next.

Layton has given the documentary the tone of a mystery movie in the re-enactments, but also in the interviews through the use of the chiaroscuro, camera positioning, hues of the film, and the tempo and way the events are presented - everything serves to build up suspense and mystery, and make you doubt and question yourself. Is this a real documentary or a mockumentary? Are we being fooled? The story is fascinating and amazing per se, but the way it is presented, is marvelous from a cinematic point of view as lets the viewer munch on a few philosophical themes: self-identity, reality and perception of reality, the connection between emotion and perception, and the use of cinematic narratives in documentaries based on real events, among other things.

One of the main downs of the movie is that Nicholas' family is somewhat ridiculed and vilified for the sake of the storyline. After all, we need of good, bad, stupid and clever characters in a story to create an interesting film. In the first place they are portrayed as ignoramuses; however, they are a suburban family living in a poor area of the USA, with little or none education; you cannot expect much of any person grown in this social environment anywhere in the world. In the second place, they are ridiculed for failing to detach themselves from their emotions and see something really obvious for the spectator; however its a characteristic of human nature and behavior to attach emotion to our thoughts and to interpret what we see according to our own personal individual viewfinder. We do so, all of us, every single day, in our daily lives, so you cannot expect traumatized and emotional people to see things as clearly as we see them from our seat in the cinema. In the third place, the movie implicitly blames the family, by letting some of the characters doing so, for the vanishing of Nicholas, without providing any evidence for it.

Still, this is a terrific documentary. The less you know about the whole story at the beginning, the more you will enjoy it. This is a documentary that attracts people to the genre because reinvents it. A proof that a documentary can be amazing, intriguing, entertaining, and thought provoking.


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