Meet Me in the Bathroom
Inspired by Lizzy Goodman’s oral history book of the same name, Meet Me in the Bathroom explores the New York music scene of the early 2000s, following some of the most influential artists of the period, including The Strokes, The Moldy Peaches and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The early 00s were an uncertain time, with the new millennium bringing several seismic shifts in the global technological, social and political landscapes, and Meet Me in the Bathroom does a great job of examining how these wider social issues impacted the culture, identity and creative output of musical artists in New York. The documentary is comprehensive in its analysis, with tons of archival footage combined with present-day interviews and, of course, the era’s music, painting a detailed picture of a city on the cusp of huge change.
9/11 is a big talking point as an event that completely redefined American culture and had lasting effects on global sociopolitics, and while it doesn’t dwell too long on the specific impacts of the attack, the documentary does chart the ways that it fractured the national identities of US musicians and how this cultural existential crisis informed the music created in the New York rock scene. The flick also touches on how the rise of the World Wide Web affected artists, and gives some brief lip service to the effects of gentrification on the city’s musicians, but it doesn’t really give these topics a lot of narrative oxygen.
Meet Me in the Bathroom is a stylish feature, with editing and sound design capturing the vibes of early 00s rock: scrappy, energetic and loud. However, structurally, it’s a bit all over the place. At times its storytelling can feel unfocused, and it jumps from point to point in a way that could give its audience cinematic whiplash.
While it could be argued that this structural roughness is part of the piece’s charm, it does get in the way of its mission statement of chronicling the evolution of rock music in New York and can make for a frustrating watch at times.
Overall, Meet Me in the Bathroom is a fascinating glimpse into a very specific era, and a generally engaging exploration of millennial America through the lens of its music. It’s not a perfect documentary, and could have done with some more focused editing, but, as it stands, it’s still an entertaining enough experience.
Meet Me in the Bathroom is released nationwide on 10th March 2023.
Watch the trailer for Meet Me in the Bathroom here: