Today was not a day for consuming anything meaningless, only something timelessly emotional and resonant.
I don't recall how old I was when I first read Jane Eyre - 12 or 13 perhaps - only how much I loved it, how it was then the perfect fusion of literature and fantasy, of passionate, intricate intelligence and extravagant wish-fulfilment - was and remained and still is, all these long years later, after personal acquaintance with love and pain and Yorkshire and a man going blind and a lot of shit and a little hard-won wisdom and many, many books.
Around the time I first read the book, there was a black-and-white TV series, which must have quite impressed me for there are scenes I still remember. And down the years a number of films, all disappointing. I'd never have thought of subjecting myself to the new one, had it not starred Mia Wasikowska, who surprised and moved me so much by her performance, aged only sixteen, as the clever, troubled teenage patient, Sophie, in In Treatment. I didn't see her as Alice in Wonderland, but if she was so convincing with jeans and hoodies and iPod and an American accent not her own, why not with corsets and Yorkshire vowels and an 'earphone' hairstyle?
She didn't disappoint and nor, this time, did the film. Of course, for a million reasons, it isn't the great work the book is, but I found it rather wonderfully judged and executed, combining the gothic and the much more subtle in its way as finely as the novel. I imagine buying the DVD to watch and cry cathartic tears when times are hard.
Wasikowska is still only twenty-one. I wonder if she'll have a long career as one of our great actors or take the millions and run, do something else.