Life is at times stranger than fiction, and The Imposter is one of the most jaw-dropping documentaries I have seen. Nicholas Barclay, a 13-year-old Texas boy, vanished in 1994. Three years later, a young man surfaced in Spain, claiming to be an American boy kidnapped for sexual exploitation; he was identified by Spanish police as Nicholas Barclay. In fact, he was a serial impersonator named Frédéric Bourdin who had contrived the ruse to escape getting busted for his own petty misdeeds.
That’s not a spoiler, because The Imposter’s audience learns this framework right away. Here’s the first real shocker: the imposter is accepted by Nicholas’ family. This is more amazing because Frédéric is seven years older than Nicholas, is not a native English speaker and looks nothing like him. Of course, Frédéric is surprised that the family is embracing him as Nicholas – and then he begins to suspect why…
Filmmaker Bart Layton expertly spins the story, We meet the actual Frédéric Bourdin, members of the Barclay family, and the detectives who broke the case.
The Imposter is available on DVD from Netflix and streaming from Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and many other VOD providers.