Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jun 26, 2014
    100
    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: John DeFore
    Jun 25, 2014
    90
    All but a must-see for anyone who knows enough to care about the way laws govern information transfer in the digital age, Brian Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz is an inspiring account of the life of, and an infuriating chronology of the persecution of, one of the Internet's most impressive prodigies.
  3. Reviewed by: Geoff Berkshire
    Jun 25, 2014
    90
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Chris Packham
    Jun 24, 2014
    90
    Brian Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz connects the dots of Swartz's past, assembling a vivid portrait of a sensitive genius with a strong moral sense.
  5. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jun 26, 2014
    80
    Whether Aaron Swartz is a personal hero or someone you've never heard of until now, his story cannot help but touch you.
  6. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Jun 26, 2014
    80
    Moving and maddening in almost equal measure, Brian Knappenberger’s The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz is a devastating meditation on what can happen when a prescient thinker challenges corporate interests and the power of the state.
  7. Reviewed by: Nikola Grozdanovic
    Jul 3, 2014
    75
    What it lacks in cinematic girth, it makes up for in factual appeal.
  8. Reviewed by: Simon Houpt
    Jun 27, 2014
    75
    Delivers a touching, morally outraged portrait that, in memory of Swartz, may inspire people to ask hard questions about how the new world is being shaped away from view, behind closed doors.
  9. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Jun 27, 2014
    75
    Aaron Swartz’s story should make you furious. In an era when real criminals of our financial crisis ride limousines to dine with the President, our government overzealously tried to put a man behind bars for decades because he tried to better the world.
  10. Reviewed by: Joe McGovern
    Jun 27, 2014
    75
    Swartz’s ex-girlfriend adds heart when she tearfully recalls first seeing the ”end date” on his Wikipedia page.
  11. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Jun 26, 2014
    75
    Knappenberger’s documentary is smart and focused, homing in on a recurring theme of independence.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jun 26, 2014
    75
    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.
  13. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Jun 25, 2014
    75
    While Swartz almost certainly would not have been sentenced to 50 years in prison, a system that tries to scare harmless do-gooders into submission does America no credit. In this case, it succeeded all too horribly well.
  14. Reviewed by: Katherine Kilkenny
    Jun 25, 2014
    75
    Knappenberger has delivered a film brimming with outrage, whose zeal becomes persuasive once Swartz takes on his activist mantle.
  15. Reviewed by: Nick Prigge
    Jun 23, 2014
    75
    The film is far from a technical matter, fiercely promoting Swartz's legacy and challenging us with the same questions its central subject was compelled to ask.
  16. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jun 26, 2014
    63
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jun 25, 2014
    63
    This one-sided documentary, told entirely by supporters, paints Swartz as a hero pursued by malign forces.
  18. Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
    Jun 25, 2014
    60
    The subject is an important one but would benefit from a shorter running time.
  19. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jun 25, 2014
    60
    It’s a call to action in the form of an adoring profile, which is effective (and affecting) strategy, but narrow, propagandistic filmmaking.
  20. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jun 24, 2014
    60
    This is a movie that preaches to its rafters-raising choir.
  21. Reviewed by: Kerry Lengel
    Jul 4, 2014
    50
    In The Internet's Own Boy, writer-director Brian Knappenberger ("We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists") paints a portrait of Swartz as a martyr for the information age, but ultimately the story falls short of such mythic ambition.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 26, 2014
    40
    Melancholy, often muddled documentary.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Sep 17, 2014
    10
    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.

    http://www.networkworld.com/article/2221109/microsoft-subnet/busted--doj-says-you-might-be-a-felon-if-you-clicked-a-link-or-opened-email.html

    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

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_...

    Thankfully we're not to this point, and hopefully we never will be, but the principle is the same.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 29, 2014
    9
    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. Full Review »