The time is the early 2000s. The place is New York City. And the soundtrack? The music of The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, LCD Soundsystem, and The Moldy Peaches. This is the scene where the documentary film Meet Me In The Bathroom takes place. Filmmakers Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern take a deeper look at why this music scene was so pivotal and examines the connections between the people in it. It begins with Kimya Dawson of “The Moldy Peaches”, Karen O of “The Yeah Yeah Yeahs” and Julian Casablancas of “The Strokes”, and discusses the bonds amongst their bands and each other. The film takes a look at the relationship between band members and at how the bands worked together to create a truly iconic music scene.
For anyone that loves this era of music, this is basically a dream come true (I say this as a fan). It’s a delight to see Julian Casablancas talking about his love for music! But despite this film’s many strengths, there are also several baffling failures. The biggest of which has to be the bizarre editing. Since this is a film that takes place in the early 2000s, it makes sense that 9/11 was mentioned. But for some reason, there is just… a really absurd amount of graphic 9/11 footage featured. Maybe this is what the critics of Turning Red wanted? Graphic 9/11 footage with no relation to the plot? It’s just… there. And it doesn’t work at all, especially when it then cuts to Casablancas talking about being rich. There are also a lot of quick cuts between bands that make it difficult to know who is being focused on. Meet Me in The Bathroom also feels scattered at times. Even though it’s attempting to say so much about the scene, it feels like most of the information gets lost or is just entirely absent due to the short runtime.
Does this make it a bad documentary? Definitely not! The story it tells is still rather breathtaking, and it’s evident that a lot of love and passion was put into making it. This film is so deeply personal to the filmmakers, and the energy from the bands makes for a wondrous experience. The music is sensational and the aesthetic is unmatched. Meet Me in the Bathroom also features some of the best cinematography of the year, with its mind-boggling angles and bright colors. The documentary doesn’t necessarily have a narrative, but it doesn’t need one either. It’s as off the rails as the genre it’s about and captures the era well.
Am I biased as a fan of this era of music? Absolutely! So for people that don’t care about this scene as much as I do, Meet Me In the Bathroom might be a total slog. But the thing is, I love Julian Casablancas more than I love myself. I would die for Karen O and Kimya Dawson. I f*cking adore that this film made fun of Ryan Adams. Thus, I really can’t help that I had a blast watching this film (minus the 9/11 segment, of course). As a documentary it’s fine, but as a passion project and love letter to the genre, Meet Me in the Bathroom is wonderful.