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The Imposter

The Imposter

2012
Suspense/Thriller
Documentary
1h 39m
A documentary centered on a young Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years. (imdb)
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The Imposter

2012
Suspense/Thriller
Documentary
1h 39m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 62.91% from 1342 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1341)
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Rated 24 Jan 2013
75
64th
man, how awesome is that private eye? "THE EARS!!!"
Rated 11 Dec 2015
30
32nd
I'm no government-employed linguist or anything, but I'm pretty sure that there isn't any amount of military-grade buttsecks that could transform a southern Texas drawl into something that sounds like it should come from Pepe le Pew's Albanian cousin. SPOILER: the title.
Rated 26 Aug 2012
84
95th
This is probably the closest a film has to come to "scaring" me since I realised that films aren't scary. The story itself is terrifying enough but it increases tenfold upon the realisation that this is an actual documentary (I went into this completely blind). Incredibly well made and a fascinating, nail-biting experience. One of this years best.
Rated 03 Dec 2012
60
57th
Life is stranger than fiction. I don't want to give out spoilers, but the way the ending is edited had me sitting at the edge of my seat... All in all a fascinating watch and kudos for all the people involved to cooperate with the making of this documentary.
Rated 30 Aug 2013
80
86th
Suspenseful and probably the most entertaining documentary I've seen. The narration held me in its grip throughout and there are some nice twists and turns. The denouement is less than amazing but the film, though it's hard to believe, is about real life events, after all. It's beyond insane that this really happened.
Rated 01 Aug 2019
79
74th
Hey, Bart Layton here to tell you I put my heart and soul into making this film and I hope you enjoy all of the twists and turns this sometimes shocking true story has in store for you. I also hope you reflect on the impact that this story has had on the people involved, like myself, Carey Gibson.
Rated 06 Jul 2014
80
78th
they just wanted a hot piece of french ass tbh
Rated 23 Dec 2012
82
83rd
Truly fascinating and blew my mind. Seems like a movie, but it really happened. Knew nothing about it, so if you don't, check it out. It's unbelievable
Rated 15 Dec 2017
9
90th
I think Einstein said it best: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." The part where the mom says 'her main goal in life is not to think' had me in stitches. A fascinating story that has to be seen to be believed.
Rated 26 Nov 2012
65
78th
Fascinating story, adeptly narrated.
Rated 29 Jan 2013
70
75th
Wow, I guess life IS stranger than fiction. What a compelling story, although I think the documentary might be slightly on the side of the imposter as in the end we see that he is a very, very deceiving person, we are not told of this until the very end and it makes you think of the family as murderers. Which they might be, but a documentary has to be more objective. Really well shot, edited and told story. A little bit mainstream but still a great watch.
Rated 15 Mar 2013
2
17th
its manipulation is too transparent; my all-encompassing suspicion prevented me from falling into the trap of mirroring the family's confirmation bias (and feeling implicated by that final shot). linklater's superior 'bernie' forced me to adopt the town's perspective with an innocuous tone echoing bernie's homely, earnest charm; i didn't feel manipulated, so i wasn't suspicious. mcconaughey's disgust left me feeling chastened and unsettled. 'the imposter' just left me feeling smarter than it.
Rated 25 Aug 2012
67
33rd
Impeccably edited account of a remarkable tale. I did feel a bit cheated though: you wonder how the filmmaker is going to resolve the burning question of why the family embraced this man, and Layton hints at a sinister reason, but in the end doesn't follow through. Strangely, the pathological liar at the centre of this story comes across as the most believable character.
Rated 07 Jan 2016
8
82nd
One of the most masterfully edited films I've ever seen. Especially the ending, which built suspense in an incredible way. The story is too crazy to not be compelling throughout and Bourdin is such a weasel that you are gripped to the story trying to figure out if he's lying or not. The mom had that Robert Durst vibe, stop licking your lips baby. The film hits new heights when the private eye is introduced. That guy needs a reality show asap
Rated 16 Jan 2016
7
67th
The documentary seems to imply something is going on with the Barclays and it's impossible not to be suspicious. Why would they accept Frederic Bourdin as their missing son when that's obviously not the case? Jason's suicide, as well as Beverly's unpredictable behavior, seems to point the accusatory arrow their way, but no conclusive evidence has been found. What the fuck? Is this Texas' fault? Fucking Texas. "My main goal in life was not to think." - Beverly Dollarhide
Rated 13 Mar 2016
37
34th
The decision to forefront Bourdin's deception saps a great deal of the film's mystery -- it's immediately clear that this brown-eyed, French-accented dude with a five o'clock shadow is not young Nicolas -- and as a result the family's acceptance of him is never really rendered intelligible. There's some great material for satire here -- how the hell did Spanish and American authorities allow this situation to happen? -- but it's played far too straight.
Rated 01 Jan 2013
86
84th
This is an example of a fantastic and unbelievable story given just the right treatment. The film doesn't heighten the drama or play manipulative games, but it does turn an already strange story about a man pretending to be an abducted teenager into something even stranger. The main players are sympathetic but also a bit dubious and there's always a hook pushing you towards the next revelation.
Rated 09 Feb 2015
70
36th
FBI dipshits.
Rated 07 Nov 2012
80
80th
Love the way the film takes color entirely from its lying-his-ass-off subject. By the end of the film we are just as confused as the police, judges and other authorities must have been.
Rated 30 May 2019
96
98th
It’s very hard for me to review a documentary, especially Imposter. Despite the overall outcome being laid open as the crux of the film, there are many twists, thrills, chills, laughs, and very dark corners yet to experience. There are so many layers to this story, and Imposter peels them away with a Hitchcockian flair for mounting tension. A blend of interviews and horror-thriller style dramatization makes for a perfect cocktail of shock and disbelief
Rated 25 Aug 2013
75
66th
Good story. Just feels like a really long episode of a police investigation show, though.
Rated 21 Nov 2012
80
90th
It ended up being a whole lot more interesting and messed up than I anticipated. I enjoyed watching it a lot. It was very compelling and even nerve-wracking. It's a pretty insane story, and it's hard to believe it's true. The film was very well-made, with great editing and effective use of dramatisations. I definitely recommend this.
Rated 04 Jun 2013
84
72nd
Bourdin is just an incredible character. His playful, smug retelling of the whole tale elevates the movie so much. Perhaps a little too dramatised and selective - they definitely deliberately picked parts where the family came off as stupid - but the movie's still tense as shit and legitimately unbelievable.
Rated 22 Aug 2013
70
88th
Well-directed one-watch doc that fully immerses you in the story from beginning to end. Includes plenty of honest testimony from the main players, while successfully keeping you guessing about all of them. The re-enactment scenes are used sparingly and interspersed well too. 'The dig' was a bit of a tease though.
Rated 18 May 2013
84
72nd
The PI is awesome. Like out of a real gumshoe detective story.
Rated 01 May 2013
7
49th
0_o
Rated 07 Sep 2013
70
42nd
Agustos 2013, Cesme & Filmin sonlarina dogru hissedilen gerilimli atmosferinin etkileyici oldugunu dusunuyorum. Bunu vermek konusunda basarili bir is. Lakin bundan ote de bir deger tasimiyor. Tortum'un dedigi gibi; hikaye guzel ve film de biraz onun ekmegini yiyor gibi.
Rated 01 Apr 2014
47
2nd
- 5/28/13
Rated 29 Jan 2013
45
10th
This is a "truth is stranger than fiction" doc that is legit in the beginning. Midway through, it makes some bold allegations. Then, due to the editing of the final scene with the P.I. it effectively ends on a cliffhanger. I'm not really cool with a documentary that presents things like that. If it's a fictional movie, fine, but if you are making a legitimate documentary you have a responsibility to present the facts even if they don't support your allegations or aren't as entertaining.
Rated 14 May 2016
82
69th
Though annoyed with the drawn out, manipulative third act, I thought the idea behind this film was an important one: we tell ourselves stories, construct narratives that bring us some kind of benefit. Within such frameworks, suggestion takes on a powerful role. I was most mystified by the FBI investigator, as she was supposed to be someone with the habit of critical thinking, but even she was taken in. Viva la pensée critique!
Rated 22 Jan 2013
52
16th
I went into this with some misconceptions. For whatever reason I was expecting a much more intelligent, eerie depiction of a strange crime, with perhaps a touch of Exit Through the Gift Shop style meta-reality. But that's not what this is; rather it's a fairly generic crime story that you'd be likely to see on prime time TV. True the polished style sets it beyond that stylistically, but the level of involvement I felt was nothing greater than that of a 15 minute Dateline NBC story.
Rated 25 Aug 2013
70
82nd
Very good.
Rated 10 Jan 2013
86
91st
Drama and suspense that Hollywood would pay millions for - and it's all a true story. Edge-of-your-seat fascinating.
Rated 02 Jun 2023
70
42nd
This film tries to sell you on a bigger conspiracy for which there is (by it's own admission) zero evidence. It would be a much better film if it really considered how much delusion people are willing to accept in order to be a little happier.
Rated 13 Mar 2022
72
34th
10.16 Hobbit
Rated 17 Feb 2022
77
51st
watchable, exciting but did not satisfy me too much
Rated 18 Jul 2020
83
52nd
The Imposter is unbelievably dumbfounding and incredibly engaging; I only wish this true story had a more satisfying conclusion, as I'm sure the family in the movie does as well.
Rated 14 Jun 2020
80
80th
The amount of stupidity in this film is crazy. This guy is absolutely fascinating and it's crazy that he found this family that took him in wanting him to be there lost brother.
Rated 15 Jan 2019
97
96th
Amazing film craftsmanship and story. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Unbelievably interesting, and masterfully told. It's like I Think We're Alone Now's more ambitious cousin. Layton has a keen understanding of the human condition and he expresses every emotion in way in which you can empathize with all of them, which I think is quite an achievement.
Rated 30 Dec 2018
75
59th
Extra 10 points for the PI using MICROSOFT PAINT of all things to identify the ears
Rated 19 Feb 2018
66
55th
It has some nice editing and it was very intriguing as a whole but while part of its 'charm', I just can't shake how uneasy I felt with Bourdin given screen time and other parts didn't quite sit well with me either. Fairly entertaining though, sure.
Rated 19 Dec 2018
78
70th
The unbelievability of this story had me interested from the start, but it really gets good and suspenseful in the last 30 minutes or so.
Rated 07 Jul 2013
85
47th
Hikaye cok cok guzel! Film biraz onun ekmegini yiyor sanki bi tik daha dusundurucu olabilirdi
Rated 05 Dec 2015
3
92nd
A good docu with a fictional narrative, or so it feels. It's bizarre this actually happened. The only thing the director could have improved on is the ending, exploring Bourdin's psyche. It is obvious he is a genuine fantasist and has a personality disorder. I would have liked to know how he was shaped this way. Given the stories he told to some therapists he could have been abused himself, as a child. Overall a good documentary. The thick thriller element could have been toned down somewhat.
Rated 07 Aug 2015
4
87th
Crazy people are very entertaining.
Rated 10 Sep 2013
40
44th
Not really a documentary at all, The Imposter is more of a fictionalized movie supposedly based on a true story. The subject is interesting, but the decision to obfuscate the line between real and "dramatized" footage and leave the audience no way of knowing what is actually true makes the film a farce.
Rated 10 Dec 2013
70
85th
Tedious at first - only got interesting with the second crime possibility.
Rated 21 Aug 2014
95
92nd
My mind: *KA-BLOOOOOM*
Rated 28 Nov 2012
77
87th
love to know what happened. nice to hear from the people involved after hearing such an outlandish story. who to believe?
Rated 09 Oct 2013
62
50th
What a great actor
Rated 23 Mar 2014
70
69th
Seriously? Only in Texas I suppose.
Rated 18 Feb 2013
78
84th
It started very slowly and I just felt like everyone was trying to make themself seem awesome or at least not as stupid as they looked, but it built up to a very good ending and turned out to be quite interesting...if not for the story, then for the filmmaking
Rated 30 Sep 2012
93
89th
Absolutely mesmerising from start to finish, The Imposter plays out stunningly, yet inevitably.
Rated 30 Dec 2012
66
73rd
DON'T READ ANYTHING ABOUT THIS FILM BEFORE WATCHING IT. This is really good life-stranger-than-fiction documentary that never ceases to surprise you. Somewhat similar to last years Catfish it sports a different, more serious tone and style. In the end, it doesn't go beyond interesting story well told, but there aren't too made of those to look this film over.
Rated 06 Oct 2014
70
51st
Ends right where a truly great documentary would have been hitting the third act. Decent though.
Rated 26 Apr 2013
0
5th
Fake and plodding.
Rated 13 Jan 2013
70
66th
When I started to think everything that was there to see has been seen - here they were getting my attention again.
Rated 07 Apr 2014
94
88th
A fantastic documentary that has twist and turns. Sadly the ending is a little rushed (some of it for stylistic choices, others parts because I don't why...)
Rated 04 Apr 2013
70
65th
The story has such a rich tapestry of bizarre circumstances that the highly stylized way in which it is told becomes a terrible distraction. The overambitious cinematography betrays Layton's apparent lack of trust in the material, as he reaches for a 'Capturing the Friedmands' kind of openness towards the end. Haha. That final crane shot alone; what circus clowns the participants must have felt like.
Rated 01 Jan 2013
51
56th
A truly mindblowing story. For the most part it is handled the way it should be, but the ending could have been better.
Rated 08 Nov 2014
60
13th
Made me feel a bit queasy, with not much cinematic reward to show for it
Rated 27 Nov 2012
90
91st
Knowing nothing about the real case I didn't know what to expect. I liked the premise and wanted to see what came from it. Turns out this is a pretty complex docu-thriller, and not what I thought at all. It draws you into the world of a pathological liar/identity theft, goes from being a gripping tale of a family and loss to a true-crime movie. Like his identity, you're left wondering what the truth is in all of this, what happened to Nicholas?
Rated 02 Dec 2012
40
25th
Yes, the story is extremely special, but besides some great editing I didn't find The Imposter very interesting. Seemed like an extended version of a weekly unsolved crime show...
Rated 15 Apr 2015
63
35th
Frédéric told the story, with every detail, in such arrogant and convincing way that it felt like he gave an exposé of the thing he was most proud of in his life. He makes himself easy to hate, and not just because he's a con artist, also because he seems content with his 'accomplishments'. https://cinemuckblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/doc-trauma-the-imposter-2012/
Rated 30 Jul 2014
83
81st
The Imposter is emotionally complex in such a disturbing way. Every time you form an opinion, it's changed in a second by one word or one image that feels like a punch in the face. This is how you make a documentary.
Rated 15 Aug 2017
75
37th
Creepy but fascinating glimpse inside the mind of an abused but sociopathic con artist drifter who successfully imitated a family's teenage son for a period of months before a detective found him out. Raises all sorts of "what the fuck?" questions, few of which it answers satisfactorily. Sadly, the weakest aspect is the editing and narration, which feels like a small-time US TV producer got their hands on it. Frightening that people like Bourdin exist, but the film is hard to take at face value.
Rated 20 Oct 2013
80
73rd
The bizarre aspects of this story are so numerous its baffling. Edited to give us a pretty suspenseful documentary.
Rated 27 Oct 2012
56
18th
Maybe I'm missing something, but it basically seemed like a typical episode of Unsolved Mysteries. The film could have benefited from exploring what made some one of the central characters tick; the fact that there is little information and clues at the end of the film also disappointed me(predicated score: 72)
Rated 23 Jan 2017
70
56th
Gerçek olmanın yarattığı gücü aynı zamanda güçsüzlüğü de olmuş ama sıkmıyor, keyifle izletiyor ve meraklandırıyor
Rated 12 Aug 2013
60
54th
Fairly interesting portrayal of an unbelievable story. To fully appreciate it don't read anything about the story beforehand.
Rated 12 Nov 2013
67
74th
I have a pretty hard heart and even I found this difficult to watch at times. I can't help think that the one extra angle introduced weakens the power of the story somewhat, but it is certainly interesting.
Rated 19 Nov 2012
81
82nd
This is a really interesting documentary. The film is interesting the entire way and it raises several interesting questions. Unfortunately the film leaves you wanting to known what happened to one person at the end but because it is based on real events we do not know what actually happened. I definitely recommend this well made documentary.
Rated 25 Jan 2014
55
44th
Frédéric Bourdin seems like a truly vile man.As for the story - bizarre. Hard to know what to think.Poor Nicholas
Rated 02 Aug 2017
75
67th
It's the #1 thing a documentary needs to be which is inherently very interesting. Unfortunately some of the editing is quite manipulative which I consider a detriment to the film overall.
Rated 16 Jun 2013
75
65th
There are a few stylistic touches early on in the recreations of Bourdin's initiating the con that rubbed me the wrong way, but once we reach the point where "Nicholas" is "reunited" with "his" family, it becomes intensely gripping and at one point actually made me mutter "oh, what the fuuuuck" when certain implications were made - implications that, for a number of reasons, were not entirely expanded on. This whole case is completely bananas. Bonus points for 16 Horsepower's Wayfaring Stranger.
Rated 22 Dec 2017
83
60th
true story, slight above average
Rated 17 Jun 2013
90
77th
A chilling and baffling film.
Rated 03 Apr 2013
80
76th
My terrible first review (score: 40) "Completely wicked premise stretched painfully out to 90 minutes. Very well-shot B-footage. Probably could have worked better as a full-on dramatization, actually, and I rarely say that." Ugh
Rated 28 Oct 2012
25
61st
"The film shrewdly opts not to proffer its own hypothesis about the true reasons behind the Gibson family buying Frédéric Bourdin's story." - Nick Schager
Rated 23 Aug 2013
4
91st
This doc had a lot going on; FFSing at the authorities, entertaining eccentrics -Boss Hogg detective was ace, knots of trauma and delusion. Fascinating stuff.
Rated 28 Nov 2012
75
60th
Very interesting, and the re enactments don't take away from this true story. Great editing, but at times you'll question it...
Rated 01 Jan 2013
85
85th
This fascinating account of how a 23-year old French scam artist, Frederic Bourdin, impersonated a missing 16-year old boy from Texas, going so far as to be accepted by the boy's family, moving in with them but finally being made by a private investigator and an initially clueless FBI agent, has all kinds of things to suggest about identity, grief, the presentation of self, deception and self-deception, guilt and survival, mostly of the American kind. Recommended.
Rated 23 Jul 2013
54
40th
The hype is there, but The Imposter, since its very beginning, when the film is fastly rewinded after the introduction and a Discovery Channel-like dramatization is staged, feels like a documentary that is always attempting to overcome the interest on its main subject, a french con artist that manages to fool spanish policemen, the FBI and a family of a missing child and even accuse this same family or killing this kid when he realizes his cover is no longer believable. Tricky, but not bright.
Rated 22 Jan 2018
90
99th
If you're looking for a black and white story with bad guys and good guys, this is not it. Incredibly complex character and a testament to the power of denial. This is what they mean when they say "you can't make that up" or "reality is stranger than fiction".
Rated 06 Jun 2015
54
29th
Interesting, but the last act annoyed me a lot. It's manipulative in the worst kind of way.
Rated 24 Dec 2013
82
83rd
Unbelievable... there is almost definitely more to this story, and it's frustrating that the truth has never come out.
Rated 18 Jun 2013
90
96th
This documentary is incredibly freakish, you can see some parts of the human nature that are very incredible, how some people decide to live in a fantasy instead of confronting the truth in this case was the Frenchman and the family, and that seemed to work for a while. This movie is going to keep me thinking for a while.
Rated 02 May 2013
87
78th
A very cool documentary about a Texas family who welcomes a complete stranger into their home. A 23 year old French man pretends to be a teenage missing boy from Texas. His stories are elaborate and shocking. This is definitely a great movie to watch if you like unsolved mysteries or murder cases. The whole thing is done very well. My biggest complaint is that you have more questions than answers by the end. Just remember to look at people's ears, that's how you really tell who is who.
Rated 09 Apr 2013
70
75th
Fascinating on several levels.
Rated 03 Dec 2012
58
21st
Mildly interesting. Many may like it but for me it should have been a real documentary. No much more to say about it. I will recommend watching if you are into psychology and thrillers at the same time.

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