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The Imposter (2012)

R  |   |  Documentary, Biography  |  24 August 2012 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 31,049 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 72 user | 208 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

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.


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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 11 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frédéric Bourdin
Carey Gibson
Cathy Dresbach ...
Nancy Fisher
Alan Teichman ...
Charlie Parker
Ivan Villanueva ...
Social Worker
María Jesús Hoyos ...
Judge (as Maria Jesus Hoyos)
Anton Marti ...
Male Police Officer
Amparo Fontanet ...
Female Police Officer
Vice Consul
Carey Gibson ...
Bryan Gibson ...
Beverly Dollarhide ...
Frédéric Bourdin ...
Himself (as Frederic Bourdin)
Nancy Fisher ...
Herself (as Nancy B. Fisher)
Philip French ...
Himself (as Phillip French)


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


Deception comes home. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

24 August 2012 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Az Imposztor  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$22,379 (USA) (13 July 2012)


$892,409 (USA) (21 November 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


Version of The Chameleon (2010) See more »


You Rascal You
Performed by Hanni El Khatib
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User Reviews

Solid, atmospheric, slightly stretched out telling of a surprising, twisty story
27 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Imposter (2012)

A creatively made documentary about a French man who was able to take on the identity of someone else against all the odds. This isn't a wild tale like the man who was doctor and airplane pilot and so on, but rather just a young man posing as a kid so he could get into a children's home and be taken care of.

Or that was step one. When he was about to be discovered he then pulls one charade after another and ends up in Texas. The gullibility of the family who takes him in is part of the talking head zaniness of it all.

Or so that's step two. Or four. The movie takes a whole series of twists because of how the story is told to us. (There is a little feeling of being manipulated and tricked which doesn't feel quite fair, actually, but this does keep you interested.) By the end you know exactly what happened (with one major detail up in the air) and there is a satisfying, wow, what a tale feeling.

The filming is really elegant, with really brilliant editing. I think it could have been more compact, and more impactful, but it never really slows down. The cast of characters gradually grows as the investigation into the facts changes, too, which is interesting, leading to the best character of all (beyond the French leading man), an old gumshoe driving his Cadillac and getting to the bottom of at least some of the facts the old fashioned way.

You might critique this kind of story by simply saying it would make an amazing amazing segment on 60 Minutes. But that would be 20 fabulous minutes. Instead it's stretched and stretched into five times that (five!) and all the extra details and atmospheric filler makes it very long. Boring? No, not really, but when you're done you'll know it could have been more by being less.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Not so much about the movie, but about the actual events... trippingbomb
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