The Imposter

I’ve always had a relatively diverse taste in movies. After all, I’m a classy man — I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. My favorites are the LOTR trilogy, Shawshank Redemption, Ratatouille, Annie Hall, District 9 and Superbad. Impressive list I stole from the IMDB top 250, I know. Out of any genre though, documentaries are my favorite. Look, what I’m trying to say is I enjoy dark, fucked up, strange, out-there stories usually involving murder, violence and crime. I was trying to warm you up to that, but I could feel you getting impatient.

In my defense, I think it’s my Mom’s fault.  She was a court reporter for 30 years.  When Netflix started streaming I was shocked when I saw her browsing history littered with horror, death and true crime.  My fascination suddenly made sense.  As the old adage goes, “Like Mother, like son.”  Just let me have this.

Sure, I never ended up being as cool as someone like Dexter Morgan.  I took the PG route merely watching instead of killing, but I’m not privileged like Dexter was.  Lets not forget, his Mother was murdered in front of him with a chainsaw. 

Failed aspirations aside, when I first saw The Imposter I had never seen, heard or watched anything like it and as you might have surmised – I’ve fucking seen it all.  Or maybe you didn’t surmise that and you’re annoyed with my assumptions and fancy vocabulary.   Side note, isn’t Ratatouille just delightful?  Man, when that prick of a food critic tries that brilliant mouse’s ratatouille for the first time, that always gets the waterworks going.  We’re getting to the Imposter now, I promise.

The Imposter is about Nicholas Barclay, a boy who mysteriously disappeared from Texas in 1994 at the age of 13.  Three years later he was miraculously found halfway across the world in a small town in Spain.  The fuck!  

Nicholas’s sister flies to Spain to meet him and her retelling of this experience is miraculous and touching.  After all, the FBI once tweeted “If a kidnapping victim isn’t found within 24 hours, you can probably throw the towel in.  Please RT for visibility.”  

Nicholas is cleared to leave his foster home in Spain and US immigration grants him citizenship.  Seems legit, no?  Well, wake up if you’re still sleeping, buddy.  It’s not.  Nicholas was a blonde-haired, blue eyed teenager.  This “Nicholas” appears to be much older, with a different eye color and a French accent.  I’ll say that again — he had a different eye color and a French accent.  Are you reading this shit? This fucking dude isn’t Nicholas.  

Miraculously, Nicholas joins their family and even enrolls in a local school and I couldn’t stop contemplating why the fuck a family would ever welcome an imposter (see what I did there) into their home?  Unless they had something to hide?  Also, why would someone even want to integrate or impost (not sure that’s a word, but let’s go with it) into a family of strangers?  As a natural introvert, how horrifying!

Somehow this guy lives with the Barclay’s for 5 months (the fuck!) before it’s unearthed that his real name is Frederic Bourdin.  His nickname in France was “The Chameleon” and he once claimed to have assumed over 500 identities.  I swear to god at this point I had screamed “What is going on?” like an angry Adam Sandler maybe 17,000 times.  

The Imposter provides one final twist when Bourdin accuses the Barclay’s of murdering Nicholas.  This damn near made my brain melt especially because it didn’t seem totally illogical.  Why else would they go along with Bourdin?  The movie ends with him doing a Michael Jackson dancing impression in prison.

Seriously, if you love documentaries, mysteries and true crime that isn’t too heavy – check this one out. I can damn near guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it.

Seth Borkowski is a New York-based writer who enjoys writing about dating, self-improvement, sports and the challenges of growing older as a millennial. You can read more of his work at

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