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The Chameleon (2010)

R  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  10 June 2011 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 1,614 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 9 user | 5 critic | 5 from

An FBI Agent is hot on the tracks of Frédéric Fortin who has taken up the identity of a woman's long lost son, completely convincing the police and the boy's family of his identity.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frederic Fortin / Nicholas Marc Randall
Kathy Jansen
Dan Price
Brian Jansen
Brendan Kerrigan
B.R.P.D. Cop A
Diner Owner (as Ritchie Montgomerey)
FBI Doctor (as Lance Nichols)
Estelle Larrivaz ...
Female Gendarme
Lindsay Soileau ...
Girl #1 (as Lindsey Soileau)
Katy Peppard ...
Girl #2 (as Katy Preppard)


Based on a true story, this film looks at what happens when a serial impostor in Europe passes himself off as a missing boy from Texas. The missing boy's family welcomes him as their son, but the FBI quickly realizes something is amiss. Does the family's eagerness to accept the impostor mean they are just happy to have their loved one back, or are they trying to hide a more sinister event - perhaps what happened to their boy? But even more - who is this impostor who has talked his way into the United States and a family's home? Written by Meredith P.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was different things to different people. But his lies were the same to all. See more »


Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, brief drug use and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

10 June 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A kaméleon  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Loosely based on the story of Frédéric Bourdin, a French serial impostor nicknamed "The Chameleon" by the press. In 1997 Bourdin claimed to be Nicholas Barclay, a Texas native that disappeared 3 years earlier. Although Bourdin had brown eyes and a French accent, he convinced the family he was their blue-eyed son, saying he had escaped from a child prostitution ring. Bourdin lived with the family for almost 5 months until March 6, 1998. In late 1997 a local private investigator grew suspicious while working with a TV crew that had been filming the family. In February 1998 the FBI got a court order to take the young man's fingerprints and DNA, which later identified him as Bourdin. In September 1998, Bourdin pleaded guilty to passport fraud and perjury in a San Antonio federal court. He was imprisoned for six years. See more »


(at around 33 mins) Brendan Kerrigan (Nick Stahl) is driving a burgundy colored Camaro with a spoiler on the trunk, and (at around 18 mins) he is clearly driving a burgundy colored Trans Am with no spoiler. See more »


Kimberly Miller: Cheers. Welcome to Hell.
See more »


References Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983) See more »


Cause and Effect
Written by Simon Steadman and Nicholas Jonathan Tyler
Performed by Pet Robot
Produced by by Simon Steadman and Nicholas Jonathan Tyler
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User Reviews

Thuddingly Dull
14 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

CHAMELEON, we are told at the beginning of this film, is based on a true story about a French lad who disguises himself as other people as a way of gaining attention and 'love' which is apparently missing in his life as a near orphan. Written by Natalie Carter and writer/director Jean-Paul Salomé it misses the opportunity to use a factual story and transpose it to the screen in such a way that we care enough about the characters to become involved in the unfolding of this charade. Unfortunately the writing and the casting and directing work against this and the result is a surprisingly uninvolving, fairly boring tale.

Nicholas Barclay (Marc-André Grondin) has been missing since age 13, for reasons unclear to the town's people in Baton Rouge. LA. Nicholas shows up in Spain after an auto accident, is treated for PTSD and is mutely amnesic until he suddenly talks and lets the hospital people know that he is Nicholas Barclay, a missing person. He states he was kidnapped and forced into a child prostitution ring that involved rape, abuse and torture - the reasons he gives for his lack of memory. Nicholas's sister Kathy (Emilie de Ravin) spends her last money to fly to France to pick up her lost brother and return him 'home' - to his chain-smoking depressed mother Kimberly (Ellen Barkin in a surprisingly monotone, phoned-in performance), Kathy's husband Brian (Brian Geraghty) and his sociopathic brother Brendan (Nick Stahl). Nicholas's identity is not clear to his family, except for his sister Kathy who offers compassion and fights for Nicholas' rights: the others doubt that their Nicholas is alive because of events they know to be true. The FBI in the persons of Tory Kittles and Famke Janssen investigate, doubting that Nicholas is who he says he is. After a dysfunctional attempt to relate to most of his family, his story starts to unravel and the true story of what happened to Nicholas starts to emerge: 'Nicholas' is Frédéric Bourdin, who after having plundered all the centers for runaway minors and delinquents in Europe, even though he has come of age, now passes himself off as Nicholas Barclay, shaves his body hair, and attempts to a carry off another 'chameleon caper' in the US.

The cinematic aspects of the film fail to make the story involving: the colors are so washed out that it appears to be made on cheap film, the story is disjointed with such scenes as Nicholas shaving his body hair really adding little to the tale, the surprisingly dull performance by Ellen Barkin is a shock, and Marc-André Grondin is simply not up to making us realize the potential of this fascinating story. Famke Janssen and Brian Geraghty make the most of the roles they are given, but otherwise the cast is unremarkable.

Grady Harp

20 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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