Netflix review: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

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I’m still struggling with the Netflix search function. This one was recommended to me after I watched Blackfish, which once watching made sense.

On the surface, this is a documentary about a young man- who happened to found Reddit whilst making his name as an Internet activist- and his journey with the legal system after illegally downloading thousands of pay-per-view journals. In reality, it is a story about change, justice and a flawed political system. And it really made me question what the hell I am doing with my life.


What I liked about this film… I learnt a lot! Seriously, working in online communications this is a must see film. In fact, anyone who uses the internet should see this film. It looks into copyright, online censorship, and digital piracy. It is educational and absolutely fascinating.

Aaron Swartz is a internet wonder. I mean he founded reddit, he developed RSS & creative commons and he lead the way to blocking SOPA. He is a goddamn Internet rockstar. But they humanised him. Of course, those who spoke on his behalf idolised him, but he was just a guy doing amazing things and they shared that.

It wasn’t corny. It is so difficult to make a meaningful documentary about something so powerful without crossing that line of utterly corny- but somehow they managed to do it.

But my favourite thing about this film, is that it actually might inspire change. I mean it inspired change in me, and I’m sure it can continue on Aaron’s legacy.

What I didn’t like about this film… unfortunately, they couldn’t get anyone to speak on the prosecutions behalf. They commented many times that they attempted it, but damn it would have been so good to hear them try and explain away what the hell they were trying to prove.

Yeah, it’s sad. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but just have your tissue box handy.

Overall, there is very little to fault in this documentary. It might actually change your life, worst case scenario- you’ll have an educational and enjoyable 2hrs of viewing.

Four and a half stars-  WATCH THIS FILM!

The plot according to Wikipedia:

The film depicts the life of American computer programmer, writer, political organizer, and Internet activist Aaron Swartz. Footage of Swartz as a child is featured at the start and end of the film. The film is narrated by figures from Swartz’s life, including his mother, brothers, and girlfriends.

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