“What’s brutal to one person might be totally reasonable to somebody else.”
Charlie (Mike Myers) is terrified of marriage. He dates plenty of women, but between cat theft and soup smells, he always finds a reason to break things off before they get too serious. When Charlie meets Harriet (Nancy Travis), he may have found the woman to persuade him to commit. Unfortunately, she might also be the mysterious Mrs. X, a woman that marries men and then murders them with an axe on their honeymoon!
If I’ve learned anything this month, it’s that being worried about commitment is normal. Charlie seems to be a little extra, citing that one of his exes was in the mafia as justification for their breakup. Then again, as soon as he meets Miss Right, he gets his shit together pretty quickly. Sometimes people don’t commit because they haven’t met the person they’re invested in; and some people don’t commit because they don’t want to at all. We finally live in a world where it’s cool to stay single if you want.
Harriet, Sweet Harriet
Once you know the outcome of So I Married an Axe Murderer, it’s even more fun to watch Nancy Travis’ performance. Always a favorite of mine, she does a great job either playing evil murderer or anxious new bride. The biggest issue in diagnosing any of these players though is that most of the focus is on Charlie. He’s a little neurotic about dating, but all in all a fairly normal guy, so there’s no real mental health problem there.
The interplay between Harriet and her murderous sister, Rose, is a side component of the film, probably because the filmmakers didn’t want the outcome to be too obvious ahead of time. What’s interesting is that when Charlie does get a chance to meet Rose, it is obvious that she’s…a little bit off. She does offer the guy an elaborate breakfast, then deliver a sad bowl of cereal in its place. She also seems offended that Harriet didn’t mention her, even though Harriet and Charlie just started dating.
Harriet, meanwhile, only acts really strange once she and Charlie get married. Upon a second (or third or fourth because it’s a funny movie) watch, her behavior makes sense. Poor Harriet thinks that all three of her previous husbands ditched her on the honeymoon, so she’s extra clingy with Charlie on their own honeymoon. It turns out, of course, that good ol’ weirdo Rose has been murdering Harriet’s husbands and disguising her deeds with abandonment notes. What an ordeal to put your sister through just to ensure she doesn’t get married!
In essence, it’s clear that something is wrong with Rose, but the little screen time from her and lack of information on how Harriet and Rose were raised gives little room for a mental health diagnosis in the movie. Charlie’s lack of commitment until he meets the right lady is pretty normal; Harriet’s honeymoon demeanor in the face of three abandonments is pretty normal. Despite their unusual backgrounds, Harriet and Charlie may finally be able to settle down.