The Chameleon


The Chameleon (2011)


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


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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

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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)

Characterized by a consistent scarcity of both drama and suspense.

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


Low budget, not too shabby story elaborating on true events. This was based on a truly weird real-life character..a boy/man who takes on the identity of numerous people over and over again in seach of love. This movie is telling the story of a family that accepted him, even though it was clear he was an imposter. The reasons why, however, is the basis of this movie. Ellen Barkin delivers a good performance, and the rest of the cast is also rather decent.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

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 Prisbylla
Sarah Prisbylla

Super Reviewer

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 Haskell
Christopher Haskell

Super Reviewer

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 Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

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