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The Imposter (2012)


Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 108
Fresh: 103 | Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: Despite its true-crime trappings, The Imposter is an utterly gripping and sometimes heartbreaking documentary thriller cleverly told with narrative flair.

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Despite its true-crime trappings, The Imposter is an utterly gripping and sometimes heartbreaking documentary thriller cleverly told with narrative flair.


User Ratings: 91,584



Movie Info

Nicholas was 13 the day he disappeared (June 13, 1994). He would have been 16 and 8 months when he was reported found in Spain (October 7, 1997)... In 1994 a 13-year-old boy disappears without a trace from San Antonio, Texas. Three and a half years later he is found alive, thousands of miles away in a village in southern Spain with a story of kidnap and torture. His family is overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not quite as it seems. The boy bears many of the same distinguishing marks he … More

R (for language)
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jan 22, 2013
Box Office:
Indomina Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Imposter

All Critics (108) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (103) | Rotten (5)

In the annals of forged identity flicks, this is a towering Everest, dwarfing the deceivers in the likes of Catch Me If You Can and F for Fake.

Full Review… | October 12, 2012
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

This is edge-of-your-seat stuff and the difficulty is in the telling of the tale. To give any of this film away is a crime. You simply have to see it for yourself.

Full Review… | October 11, 2012
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The most fascinating aspect of the movie is why the missing boy's family believed the imposter's story.

Full Review… | September 13, 2012
Miami Herald
Top Critic

You may begin to wonder if you aren't being conned by the movie yourself.

Full Review… | August 31, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

"The Imposter" is one of the best films of the year.

Full Review… | August 24, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

You couldn't make this stuff up - and no one would buy it as fiction. But as a documentary, it's a different matter.

Full Review… | August 21, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

Credit director Bart Layton for taking a subject that appears barely capable of propping up hour-long, true-crime cable programming and turning it into compelling, full-length documentary.

Full Review… | April 21, 2013

The Imposter at every stage reveals another layer of the bizarreness of which human beings are capable.

Full Review… | March 8, 2013
Concrete Playground

The Imposter has many lessons; for the rest of us, it reinforces the golden rule: never assume anything about anyone

Full Review… | February 16, 2013
Urban Cinefile

The revelations never stop. The title tells us what the story is about, but it is impossible to imagine the complex elements that involve not only the central character, but those who accept him as the person he pretends to be

Full Review… | February 16, 2013
Urban Cinefile

The film looks like many a television crime series, and is as manipulative. With no disclaimer or separation, its method screams that this is full honest fact.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Few films in the past year have matched the narrative cunning of Bart Layton's captivating true-crime documentary...

Full Review… | January 7, 2013

With his first feature doc, Layton proves himself not only adept at seeking out such true-life tales, but also telling them with the flair of a naturally gifted storyteller.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This documentary film, like 'Catfish' a couple of years ago, is about a clever impersonator, but 'The Impostor' is an even stranger and more serious story, and by the time you get near the end of this bizarre tale, it gets even stranger than that.

Full Review… | December 23, 2012
Laramie Movie Scope

A gripping thriller, heartbreaking family drama, and fascinating true-crime saga all in one package.

Full Review… | December 9, 2012
Antagony & Ecstasy

Intriguing fictionalized true-crime psychological thriller doc.

Full Review… | December 5, 2012
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

... one of the most involving and compelling documentaries to come around in quite some time.

Full Review… | November 19, 2012
Reel Film Reviews

A mesmerizing con-artist comedy and a chilling true crime thriller...

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

You won't believe this true story

Full Review… | October 20, 2012
Movie Habit

Superbly crafted documentary about a missing teenager who mysteriously resurfaces after three years, prompting a riveting, better-than-fiction Cold Case-style drama.

Full Review… | October 5, 2012
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

If only the movie didn't almost glamorise Bourdin's action, they'd have been onto a real masterpiece.

Full Review… | September 30, 2012
Fan The Fire

If you are a fan of true crime stories or the workings of the human mind, The Imposter will blow you away.

Full Review… | September 27, 2012
The Aristocrat

... both interesting and repellent.

Full Review… | September 26, 2012
Sacramento News & Review

An unnerving experience and a brilliant piece of documentary filmmaking that peels back the layers on one of the most perplexing stories

Full Review… | September 23, 2012
The Popcorn Junkie

Audience Reviews for The Imposter


It'd have been even better if they'd made a movie based on these events. The interviews, at times, shatter the involvement with the documentary film. But yeah, it gave a picture of how far a criminal's mind can reach, despite having quite a different appearance than the missing child. Making it in fully movie format would have helped the twist better.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer


"The Imposter" is one of the best, most memorable, and most unnerving documentaries I have ever seen; a masterclass of it's format. It's factual interviews meld incredibly well with terrifically shot recreations, and unforeseeable twists that make the doc play as a thriller, with the brooding menace of David Fincher's best work. Like all of the best documentaries, "The Imposter" will leave you in disbelief, and scouring ever little detail on the subject via wikipedia afterwards. You won't soon forget it.

Michael S

Super Reviewer


The tag line couldn't be more true, 'There are two sides to every lie'. The Imposter is the new Capturing the Friedmans so far as style and intrigue goes but I've not seen a film that really fits the profile of 'So unbelievable, it must be true' as much as this. The key to this documentary is the fact that both sides sound believable but one of them is definitely lying. It beggars belief but then that is what documentaries are for, although don't watch hoping to find out all the facts, you've got to make your own mind up but then again, that is the sign of a good documentary doing what it is supposed to do and doing it well.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

A true crime story with so many twists and turns you might think it was scripted. Well executed documentary that does its best to take an objective point of view, and leave the decision-making to the viewer.

Idrees Khan
Idrees Khan

Super Reviewer

The Imposter Quotes

Frédéric Bourdin: A new identity was a real passport, an American passport, I could go to the US, go to the school there, live with that family and just being someone and don't never again to to worry about being identified.
– Submitted by Sylvester K (20 months ago)

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