User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38

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  1. Aug 6, 2012
    In the first few minutes of this doc, the filmmakers share a crucial fact that, in a fiction film would be so outlandish, it would not be believed.. That this fact is revealed in the first 10 minutes of this movie made me think that the filmmakers had shown their cards too early, but they have a lot more in store. Absolutely riveting, the events depicted are deeply unsettling, and deeply sad. This doc is one of the best of the year. If you enjoy true crime docs, docs dealing with deceit and denial, and docs that examine human foibles and delusions, then, by all means, see this one. Do yourself a favor, though: don't read about any of the details. Let the film surprise you. You will not be disappointed. Expand
  2. Aug 7, 2012
    It's one of the creepiest movies I've seen in a long time. I'm sure it could have been done better - the basic story is such fertile ground for a documentary. But the title only takes you calves deep into the craziness that is this story. About half way through the film, my blood ran a little cold when I thought I realized what was going on - and what I would guess likely happened. Not everything is sewn up neatly at the end of the film, but it's well-worth seeing. Expand
  3. Jan 27, 2013
    An entertaining documentry, with alot of mystery. Nicely shot, having real footage mixed with actors. Best thing, it didnt bore you with what the conclusion of the movie will be.
  4. Aug 2, 2012
    Film was well produced but didn't have enough content to justify its length. If you want a more nuanced read on this individual, I'd strongly suggest the New Yorker's article by David Grann ("The Chameleon"). It will take less time, leave you more informed and satisfied than this movie.
  5. Feb 27, 2013
    This documentary follows the disturbing story of a family and their missing 13 year old son. They think their life has returned to them when their lost son is found in Spain. This is just the beginning of one of the most outlandish stories of crime that you will ever hear.

    The details of the events are given to us in little bites. Each step more bewildering than the last. Each new
    player makes us wonder how anyone could be so blind, careless, and just plain stupid. There are a couple of intriguing twists in the last third of the story that make this film worth the watch. There is one shot in particular where no dialogue is used that perfectly sums up this film. But overall this documentary simply plays out like a high concept episode of 48 Hours. Expand
  6. Aug 15, 2012
    Wonderful documentary about an outlandish story. The director was able to convey many sides of the story, leaving it to the viewer to decide. For such a traumatizing event, there are elements of humor. I question if the humor was done intentionally, or if its just the crazy ideas that eventually bring out the laughs.
  7. Dec 6, 2012
    This impressive documentary/ first feature film directed by Bart Layton chronicles an unimaginable case of a child abduction, that ultimately raises more questions than it answers. In 1997, 13 year-old Nicholas Garelay from Texas goes missing without a trace only to mysteriously reappear years later in Spain. He is reunited with his family by Spain and US officials, but as time and investigations reveal, circumstances and details are not consistent. A story so improbable and bizarre alone is worth the watch. Expand
  8. Aug 25, 2014
    This was a stunning documentary movie about the 1997 incident. Tells the story of a Texas boy who returned home after the 3 years of disappearance. Created a lot thrilling excitation that equals to any masterpiece crime-thriller movie. Particularly to say it is what Hitchcock would have chosen to do if he was alive today. Sadly, it was a documentary movie, that does not really stop anyone from a watch. It is one the documentary you should watch if you are a Hitchcock fan, especially if you are interested in the crime-thrillers that deals about identity crises. As it is a true story, it was unbelievable.

    A 16 year-old Nicolas Barclay from Texas was missing for 3 years. All the sudden one day he appears with the changed personality. That brings joy in his family who was praying for his return. But Nicolas tells the strange story about his disappearance that convince his family, but authorities suspect that something is not right. What is true and what is not is the remaining narration that reveals as it happened.

    ‘‘I saw the opportunity.’’

    This movie is what reminds me the Indian movie 'Naan'. Same kind of narration that does not keep the secret from the viewers, but each other from the movie characters. It was about claiming the fake identity, that was not done perfectly because of the faultless display, but failed to recognize the truth, especially in the modern world with all the facilities are available to detect such flaws. Like saying, all is well when everybody is happy. There are lots of similar incidents happening, but everything won't come into the lights. I am glad this story brought into the silver screen.

    It was awesome, I thoroughly stuck with it till the end. Yes, the end leaves behind many doubts about the whole structure of the case that could possibly take us to the day since Nicolas was missing. But in another angle it is a kind of offense to believe where the story leaves everything and finger points the other way. Whatever the truth is, it leaves us on a thin border of the two possibilities and we have to take what way we think could possibly would have happened. In the meantime the mystery about Nicolas keeps unanswered. I hope this puzzle will be solved one day in the near future.
  9. Feb 1, 2013
    La trama es de lo más increible que podas ver en otro documental, Layton lo maneja de una manera original y efectiva, no despegas tus ojos de la pantalla ni por un segundo. Hipnotizante y aterradora.
  10. Feb 21, 2013
    I'm a fan of documentaries, movies and TV Shows of all genres. Usually, I choose which medium to view based on my mood. They are usually different types of entertainment. "The Imposter" totally throws off my criteria on how I decide. They say art imitates life and vice versa, but in this one it seems impossible to tell what is what. If someone were to come up with an idea to write this story they might be considered highly imaginative, but the twists and unbelievability of this documentary seem to unreal to be real. Yet, "The Imposter" is not based on a true story, but rather, it is a true story, word for word, and unfolding right before your eyes. I will give away nothing about this incredibly strange but captivating story. I'll just say that you'll think " way! How? This is crazy!" or be more or less articulate in your once in a life time documentary experience. I think it's good to read a few reviews, and check out the description to decide whether to watch something or not. But, I believe the best way to truly enjoy something good is to have no preconceived notions about it. This is one of those you should just dive into without dipping your toe into it. I think you might find that the water will give you a serious chill, but it's a lot more exhilarating. Expand
  11. Mar 22, 2013
    The story alone is fascinating but the subtle twist it has is even more intriguing. The movie gives you indication but leaves enough questions open to decide by yourself. To give out more would spoil one of the best films I have recently seen.
  12. Apr 28, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A disturbing documentary in many ways and by the end you'll wonder how many imposters there really are. The details in this case seem so outlandish maybe the family but for him to fool the feds and the authorities in Spain are stunning. Expand
  13. Aug 31, 2013
    A stand out documentary, eerie and put me on edge, which is rare with me. Having not heard of the story before seeing the film, the twists to the events made my jaw hang, and the way they were executed were fantastic.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Oct 12, 2012
    The utterly bizarre story made national news when it broke, has since provided much magazine fodder, and popped up only two years ago adapted into a dramatic feature. Now it receives the documentary treatment and, in the devilishly manipulative hands of director Bart Layton, what a treatment it is – the weirdness just gets weirder.
  2. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Sep 13, 2012
    The most fascinating aspect of The Imposter, though, is why the missing boy's family believed his story.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Sep 7, 2012
    There's a good reason why the true-crime film The Imposter is a documentary: If someone tried to pass off this bizarre Texas tale as fiction, nobody would believe it.