Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Starring:
  • Summary: The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron's story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jun 26, 2014
    This is a film that left me marveling at Swartz’s beautiful mind, and shaking my head at the insanity of the system he knew was badly fractured.
  2. Reviewed by: Geoff Berkshire
    Jun 25, 2014
    The Internet’s Own Boy is a beautifully crafted film that opens a window on a world not everyone has entered yet, and exposes ways in which both the legal system and the U.S. government is lagging hopelessly behind technology.
  3. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jun 26, 2014
    Whether Aaron Swartz is a personal hero or someone you've never heard of until now, his story cannot help but touch you.
  4. Reviewed by: Katherine Kilkenny
    Jun 25, 2014
    Knappenberger has delivered a film brimming with outrage, whose zeal becomes persuasive once Swartz takes on his activist mantle.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jun 26, 2014
    Knappenberger can’t paint his subject as an imperfect human being because Swartz simply means too much to too many people right now. He’s a focal point for social and political change, with communal grief as its engine.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jun 26, 2014
    See the movie, flaws and all, simply to see where you stand in this digital river that runs through all our lives, connecting and isolating us in ways we're barely able to comprehend.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 26, 2014
    Melancholy, often muddled documentary.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Sep 17, 2014
    It's disheartening to see our citizens abused over and over again on bizarre charges. Almost every one of the counts they indicted Aaron with could be applied to nearly any of us if a prosecutor decides they don't like you. We turn a blind eye to these things until they affect us, and then we're surprised at how we're treated.

    At it's core it's the same pattern over and over again:
    An individual or organization with a lot of power is in a position where there is a strong incentive to "Win" (perhaps they're running for re-election, or a loss would affect their brand). Winning then drives these perverse behaviors rather than what seems reasonable under the circumstances, or fair relative to similar situations.

    In essence you have a society where any form of whistle blowing is liable to be a risk to your normal life in some way, because you will ultimately be bullied by a larger more powerful organization. The whistleblower isn't always right, but on the whole people don't subject themselves to that kind of trouble, unless they see something really troubling. Until we have protections in place, where a whistleblower knows they will get a fair shake, even if they're wrong, we'll continue to have a lot of evil hidden in society because it just isn't worth the risk to most people.

    The only way for any one of us to be able to stand up to bullying is the ability for a group of people to mobilize as fast as the bully, which is exceptionally difficult when you're dealing with even a moderately intelligent bully. Unless we encourage and support these kinds of protections in our society, bullies will continue to do what they've always done, pick people off one by one as the rest of us stand around

    Thankfully we're not to this point, and hopefully we never will be, but the principle is the same.
  2. Jul 29, 2014
    Watched this a recently and was moved by the story. Swartz story could be seen as a cautionary tale. This film seemed more focused than Knappenberger's previous documentary about Anonymous. Both must-sees for the Internet generation and anyone interested in the current politics of information technology. Great filmmaker, can't wait to see what's next. Expand