The Chameleon

2011

The Chameleon

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

25%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 8

22%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 818
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Movie Info

A family welcomes home a missing child, but he may not be all he seems to be in this suspense drama. Nicholas Barclay was a 13-year-old living in Louisiana with his family when he mysteriously disappeared, and though his mother, Kimberly (Ellen Barkin), and sister, Kathy (Emilie de Ravin), have been hopeful he'll be found, after three years it seems increasingly unlikely. To their surprise, Nicholas (Marc-André Grondin) returns home one day, claiming he'd been kidnapped by child predators but finally escaped. Kimberly and Kathy are overjoyed and welcome him home with open arms. Nicholas' brother-in-law, Brian (Brian Geraghty), senses this young man isn't really Nicholas, though, and Jennifer Johnson (Famke Janssen), an FBI agent looking into the case, shares his suspicions. But if Brian and Jennifer are convinced Nicholas is an imposter, why aren't Kimberly and Kathy willing to acknowledge the same evidence? Based on a true story, The Chameleon was the first English-language feature from French director Jean-Paul Salomé. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast

Famke Janssen
as Jennifer Johnson
Ellen Barkin
as Kimberly Miller
Emilie De Ravin
as Kathy Jansen
Marc-Andre Grondin
as Nicolas Barclay/Frédéric Fortin
Brian Geraghty
as Brian Jansen
Tory Kittles
as Dan Price
Nick Stahl
as Brendan Kerrigan
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Critic Reviews for The Chameleon

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (6)

  • Characterized by a consistent scarcity of both drama and suspense.

    Jul 15, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Nick Schager

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • We see the impostor's trickery but not the pain driving it.

    Jul 14, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • Screenwriters, take note: Unless your story is a whodunit, it's an unforgivable flaw to telegraph early and often that, sometime during the final act, we should anticipate the proverbial rug to be pulled.

    Jul 12, 2011 | Full Review…
  • The execution falls short of its full potential.

    Jul 11, 2011

    Dennis Harvey

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Salomé and co-writer Natalie Carter offer some explanatory psychology, but the complexities remain underdeveloped. Still, you won't be bored.

    Jul 8, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Though there's plenty of skill on display here, "The Chameleon" is one of those films that feels out of whack, as if it focuses too much energy on the wrong story, leaving a more interesting one in the background.

    Jul 7, 2011 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for The Chameleon

  • Oct 24, 2011
    In theory, this sounds like such a good movie, but I was really disappointed with it. There was really no depth to "Nicholas" or the family themselves. It could have been so much better.
    Sarah P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2011
    From the start, I had a hard time latching on to the main character and not because of great writing or directing, but because the actor was simply not believable. Most characters in this film act without instinct or drive, delivering spoon-fed dialogue for no apparent reason but to progress the plot. The Chameleon not only screams melo-drama but lacks any sort of mystery or suspense, feeling glossed over and unwatchable at times. Had the writers given this more time, I feel a much better story could have developed, but instead we are left with a film screaming "made-for-TV-movie" or "Lifetime-original drama".
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 15, 2011
    You can't die twice. This film to me was stressful to watch. I was bored and eagerly for it to end so I could finally know what the hell was it about. The acting was mediocre and the cast was not that good, it felt like it needed a good known actor for it to be better. So what that it was based on a true story big deal, this movie was pointless and crappy. The amazing true story of Frédéric Bourdin, who after having plundered all the centers for runaway minors and deliquents in Europe, even thought he has come of age, now passes himself off as Nicholas Barclay, a 13-year-old American who had vanished three years ago. To his astonishment, Nicholas's family welcomes him like their son, leaving Interpol and the FBI aghast. It is the beginning of a race against time for the investigators, family and Bourdin. But who is manipulating whom? And who is Frederic Bourdin in reality?
    Manu G Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2011
    Great cast Nick Stahl,Famke Janssen, Ellen Barkin, Emilie de Ravin and Nick Chinlund. Everyone involved didn't look like themselves they seemed to have morphed too except Famke but still everyone looked so inmerse in their characters it was easy to believe and since it was based on a true story it was even more fantastic but being True doesn't mean that it will be super exciting! It is a tense, effective thriller, faithful to the real events it depict in a stylistically gorgeous mastery. It is a psychological thriller with great actors and a subtly photographed scenery of the deep south, in the down and dirty poor neighborhood of the drugged and drunk underclass. Of course, it isn't really uplifting, but the characters are real people playing out their desperation. The narrative is well constructed and keeps you interested through out, especially in the case you had no idea about the event it portrays, you'll get drawn to it only through the sheer magnetism of the central character, who also happen to be despicable in many ways, like everyone else around him. The amazing true story of Frédéric Bourdin, who after having plundered all the centers for runaway minors and deliquents in Europe, even thought he has come of age, now passes himself off as Nicholas Barclay, a 13-year-old American who had vanished three years ago. To his astonishment, Nicholas's family welcomes him like their son, leaving Interpol and the FBI aghast. It is the beginning of a race against time for the investigators, family and Bourdin. But who is manipulating whom? And who is Frederic Bourdin in reality? An FBI Agent is hot on the tracks of Frédéric Fortin who has taken up the identity of a woman's long lost son completely convincing the police and the boy's family of his identity. A family welcomes home a missing child, but he may not be all he seems to be in this suspense drama. Nicholas Barclay was a thirteen year old living in Louisiana with his family when he mysteriously disappeared, and though his mother Kimberley (Ellen Barkin) and sister Kathy (Emilie de Ravin) have been hopeful he'll be found, after three years it seems increasingly unlikely. To their surprise, Nicholas (Marc-Andre Grondin) returns home one day, claiming he'd been kidnapped by child predators but finally escaped. Kimberley and Kathy are overjoyed and welcome him home with open arms. But Nicholas's brother-in-law Brian (Brian Geraghty) senses this young man isn't really Nicholas, and Jennifer Johnson (Famke Janssen), an FBI agent looking into the case, shares his suspicions. But if Brian and Jennifer are convinced Nicholas is an imposter, why aren't Kimberley and Kathy willing to acknowledge the same evidence? Based on a true story, The Chameleon was the first English-language feature from French director Jean-Paul Salomé.
    Sergio E Super Reviewer

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