Meet Me In The Bathroom Sundance 2022 music documentary review

Sundance 2022: Meet Me In The Bathroom Review

Shut up and play the hits.

Meet Me In The Bathroom is a time capsule for elder Millennials, young Gen Xers, and anyone who counts themselves fans of early 2000s indie rock.

Based on Lizzy Goodman’s 2017 oral history of the music scene that birthed The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the new Sundance documentary takes a deep dive into the rise of the New York sound. With Y2K fears behind us and the horrors of 9/11 unfolding live on TV screens, 2001 was also about to experience a cataclysmic shift in music.

Is This It?

Using only archival footage, home video, interviews, and concert clips edited together with new and old voiceover from music insiders at ground zero, directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace (who also directed the LCD Soundsystem doc Shut Up And Play The Hits) give viewers a backstage pass to the early days of the bands that would dominate the music scene over the next decade.

While Goodman’s book gets more in-depth and follows several more bands, Meet Me In The Bathroom should be viewed as more of a companion piece or highlight reel, narrowing its lens to focus primarily on The Strokes, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and LCD Soundsystem. While the Moldy Peaches, Interpol, The Rapture and TV On The Radio get passing mentions, many more including The Walkmen, Les Savy Fav, and !!!, are left out. Though narrowing the focus provides some additional clarity, the overall doc is still a meandering “inside baseball” journey, trying to assemble parallel stories that would feel fairly inaccessible for new fans. This isn’t a film for those looking to discover the greats of the era; it’s made for fans who want to go back to the beginning to claim “I was there” at this particular moment in time. This is a movie for fans, by fans.


New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

Just like the early 2000s music scene itself, some of the documentary’s narrative comes across as messy. Much of the period’s notorious drug use is left on the cutting room floor, save for James Murphy’s first ecstasy experience and Albert Hammond Jr.’s drug problems. The latter’s drug use comes in near the end of the film, with Ryan Adams becoming the film’s drug-pushing villain—a villain who’s eventually given an ultimatum to stay away from Hammond Jr. by the rest of the band.

The bulk of the film’s focus is on The Strokes, an unfortunate choice given frontman Julian Casablancas’ aloofness. Thankfully, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O injects some much-needed girl power into the mostly-male music scene as we follow the development of her stage persona. Her commentary on sexism and the male gaze offers a refreshingly new perspective on the “boys club” of the era.

But the real boon for the documentary is James Murphy’s on-the-ground look at the formation of LCD Soundsystem. Murphy is a guy who felt himself on the outside of the burgeoning music scene, watching as his influence as a DJ slips away with the invention of Napster.

Rough around the edges, Meet Me In The Bathroom isn’t here to provide any startling new insight into the era, but it sure works as a nostalgia-driven trip that will make you want to cue up one of the many “Meet Me In The Bathroom” playlists on Spotify and recall your youth spent in dark and sweaty clubs dancing to “Last Nite”.


Head here for more from this year’s Sundance Film Festival.