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The documentary follows the development of Paul Simon’s life and career (IMDB/Harari Guido)

In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon sees the acclaimed musician inside the studio making a new album while reflecting on his six-decade career. Source: Australian Catholics. 

Viewers will get their money’s worth in this documentary by Alex Gibney, which stretches for 3.5-hours. 

Gibney opens his film in 2021, the year Simon turns 80, visiting him at his home and studio in Texas, where he lives with his supporter, collaborator and wife of more than 30 years, Edie Brickell. Simon explains that a dream in 2019 influenced him to work on a new album – a poetic ensemble of songs titled Seven Psalms.

We follow the chronological development of Simon’s life and career, from Queens, New York, his Jewish background (though, interestingly, no religious influence specifically on his lyrics), his childhood friendship and musical partner Art Garfunkel, their early successes and failures.

The first half of the documentary covers the period from 1963 to 1970. Because of his long career, there is an abundance of photos, television appearances and interviews to draw on and they’re interestingly incorporated throughout the film. And, we hear those popular songs of the time: Feelin’ Groovy, I am a Rock, Scarborough Fair and some detailed explanations and visuals of creating the score for Mike Nichols’ The Graduate and its standout track, Mrs Robinson.

Then there is the break with Art Garfunkel. Garfunkel is not interviewed for this film but the director is able to use a great deal of radio and television footage. We hear of the reasons – personal and professional – and witness their later reunion and successful concerts in Central Park.

The film also explores Simon’s solo career, his marriage to Carrie Fisher and the creation of the Grammy-winning 1986 album, Graceland.

Listening to Simon’s lyrics, watching them written on the screen, we realise how poetic he was, popular, existential, probing, deeply humane, the touch of the mystical, which is communicated movingly in the creation of

Review by Fr Peter Malone MSC, Jesuit Media via Australian Catholics.

In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon: Directed by Alex Gibney. 209 minutes. Rated PG (Mild themes and coarse language).


In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon (Australian Catholics)