New Docuseries Celebrates Paul Simon's Varied Career

Exploring Paul Simon's Musical Evolution in Latest Docuseries.

by Zain ul Abedin
New Docuseries Celebrates Paul Simon's Varied Career
© Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

For those who didn’t grow up flipping through vinyl records of "Sounds of Silence," "Bookends," or "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on the family record player, chances are your elders did. Throughout the golden era of the mid to late 1960s, Simon & Garfunkel's melodies were omnipresent, providing a soundtrack to everyday life with their lyrical explorations of friendship, love, and the simple joys of life, all set to their signature harmonious soundscapes.

The duo, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, childhood friends from Queens, parted ways in 1970, leaving a void in the hearts of many. While Garfunkel ventured into acting, Simon continued to make his mark as a solo artist, navigating through the highs and lows of his musical journey, which is now encapsulated in Alex Gibney’s insightful two-part docuseries "In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon," premiering on MGM+ on March 17 and March 24.

Simon's Intimate Journey

Alex Gibney, renowned for his documentary work, such as "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" and "Taxi to the Dark Side," masterfully weaves Simon's past and present into a cohesive narrative.

Viewers are taken inside Simon's intimate studio in Wimberley, Texas, where at 82, he is seen crafting his 15th solo album, "Seven Psalms," released in May last year. The series doesn't shy away from Simon's career challenges, including the lukewarm reception of projects like "One Trick Pony" and "Hearts and Bones," nor does it gloss over the complexities of his relationship with Garfunkel, despite their temporary reunion for a monumental concert in Central Park in 1981.

Despite these setbacks, Simon's career is portrayed as resilient and innovative. His marriage to Edie Brickell and their shared artistic journey, the challenges he faces with hearing loss, and his relentless pursuit of musical creation are all highlighted, offering a rare glimpse into his personal and professional life.

Gibney's documentary also revisits Simon's controversial "Graceland" era, addressing the accusations of cultural appropriation and his violation of the cultural boycott against apartheid South Africa, while also celebrating the cross-cultural collaborations that defined the album.

"In Restless Dreams" not only celebrates Simon's legacy but also delves into the creative process behind his enduring music, from the iconic drum echoes in "The Boxer" to his humorous appearances on 1970s talk shows. The docuseries culminates in a portrayal of Simon as a figure of jubilant resilience, a musician whose work transcends geographical and cultural boundaries, reminding us of the expansive power of music to connect, heal, and inspire.