A young man rediscovers himself after splitting up with his wife in “The Divorce Party,” a sweet, diverting and well-performed rom-com that makes its cogent observations about life and love with simple finesse. Although it hardly reinvents the genre, the film, nicely directed by Hughes William Thompson, offers just enough smarts and charm to feel fresher than most in its class.
When after five safe, regimented years of marriage, Nate (Thomas Cocquerel) is told by Susan (Claire Holt) that she wants out, he unexpectedly finds himself on an all-new solo path. But who is he without Susan, with whom he became a bland, cardigan-wearing homebody — which he thought he liked?
An under-inspired architect with a decent boss (Tom Wright) and two cooler co-workers (writers Lane Garrison and Mark Famiglietti), the floundering Nate finds himself turning to adorable, recently divorced friend Katie (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) to help organize a “divorce party” to celebrate his new single status. Two guesses where this relationship is headed.
Despite the film’s baked-in predictability, Nate’s rocky journey of re-socialization and identity search — which includes awkwardly befriending a gay artist (Todd Lasance), learning to comfortably party (a fun drinking game is a highlight), getting an effective grooming-and-clothes makeover, and parrying with Susan and her new beau (Will Brittain) — proves funny, gently ironic and ultimately touching. Lovely use of Savannah, Ga., locales as well.