The true story of a 23-year old Frenchman successfully posed as a 16-year old American missing boy. It begins with pure luck on his part but develops into a story of both the audience and this impostor asking why?
Frederic Bourdin, the impostor, leaves Spain with an American passport under his assumed identity as Nicholas Barkley. He is accepted back into his "family" without questioning and gives an excuse that is just accepted by the authorities and by the family. After while everyone begins to notice how different Bourin looks from Nicholas but the thought is thrown away because of the trauma he went through which develops as his lame excuse. Bourdin begins wondering why his "family" accepted him so easily and then he puts it together. So who told the bigger lie, Bourdin or the Barkley family?
This film is a mix between a documentary and biography. For one, almost all of Bourdin's on screen time is done by an actor telling his story and acting out specific events which is how it is a biography film. Having said this, a huge chunk of Barkley's family are interviewed for the film to describe their take on the event and to say first hand what lead them allow a complete stranger in their home and why they accepted this stranger as their missing family. The mix between the medium of the story aids to its diversity, which can be likable or dis-likable.
The film itself has a slow story-line, which yes since it is based on true events it may be slow at times but the film only focuses on the exciting events for a little while. The pay-off is indeed the best part of the film and just because of that event it is worth watching. The film slowly pieces together the story hinting at the ending but up until Bourdin states that he knows the truth, the audience knows. Other than that, the film focuses on information that is often times repeated unnecessarily by different characters, both acting and real.
Overall, the film was well made and is worth a watching because of it's connection with the true events. The story is so unbelievable or so extraordinary that it seems more like a plot to a Shyamalan story rather than a true event.