The Imposter (Prime)

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Imposter:

This is impersonating a good true crime documentary.

Quick synopsis:

The disappearance of Nicholas Barclay and the imposter who tried to take his identity.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

The imposter, Frederic Bourdin, has impersonated at least 3 actual missing teenagers.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Nicholas Barclay was a 13-year-old American kid with blonde hair and blue eyes. Bourdin was a 20-year-old French guy with brown eyes. Go figure.

My Take on The Imposter:

This documentary commits a cardinal sin of the true crime genre (that maybe I just made up) which is that if you are not going to completely solve something then don’t bring it up or make sure the audience knows they will leave with an unsolved mystery. You know, like Unsolved Mysteries. They do it right. It’s right in the name.

The story is very weird and leaves a lot of loose ends. As explained in the fun fact for history nerds, Nicholas Barclay looked nothing like Frederic Bourdin. To say they look nothing like each other is a hilarious understatement. Pair that with Bourdin’s very heavy French accent and the whole story gets weirder.

The problem with this documentary is that it builds up to a few possible reveals but then never actually settles anything other than Bourdin being an imposter which we have known since the beginning. It seems like some significant accusations are hurled and never truly explored.  His ruse falls apart relatively quickly but too much runtime is taken up by it. I was left pretty frustrated.


There are better crime docs out there (see below). Skip this one. If not, watch it here!

If You Liked This Try:

The Imposter (Prime)