Review: The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

The way I watched this film was very fitting.

When I saw the Academy put up its shortlist for the documentary Oscar nominations, this one sounded immediately interesting. It's set to release on Netflix next month, but luckily I came across a tweet where someone said the whole movie was on youtube. And it still is. 

Of course a film about Aaron Swartz's life would be on the internet for all to see. That's what he was about. He wanted people to have access to all the knowledge they could. Aaron was a programming prodigy who helped start plenty of sites online that you've certainly heard of. (RSS, Reddit, etc) The former he helped with when he was all of 14. He was arrested when he conducted a mass download of information from MIT. He wasn't selling it or going to blackmail someone with it, he just thought everyone should have access to it to learn. He was going to be charged with nearly 13 felonies and was treated like a criminal. He sadly committed suicide last year at the age of 26.

This doc is very informative. I was somewhat familiar with Swartz prior to watching this. I remember reading about his arrest, his help to stop SOPA, and the general sadness of the online community when news of his death broke. Though nearly all of the parties opposing what he did declined to speak (because of course they did) they still had plenty of interesting things to say.

As far as the Oscars go, I wonder if this will suffer the same problem Blackfish had. It seemed like a lot of this information could've already been found online, so if you're familiar with the subject, it might not be anything new. But I stand by this the same way I did Blackfish, it's nice to have all of this complied into one place. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "In that moment, I regret that I said it." - Quinn Norton


  1. I'd never heard of this, and it sounds fascinating. Thanks!

    1. I didn't realize they had made a doc about him either until the Oscar shortlist came out. It seems like this didn't get a lot of press. It's a shame.

  2. this is interesting. i've been kinda dragging my feet about watching this for a while, so it's nice to hear that someone liked it.

    1. Yeah, you should check it out. Just search the name on Youtube. It's all there.

  3. This sounds good. I overlooked it on the Oscars list, so maybe I'll have to give it a look.

    1. I just watched Jodorowsky's Dune on Monday, and I liked this one far better. I hope it sneaks in. It's fascinating.


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