As the days grow shorter and humanity settles in for a fall and winter amid a pandemic, good films can help the spirit grow. Here are Catholic Sentinel staff picks for this season.

‘Lady Bird’

2017, R, Netflix


“Lady Bird,” about a senior, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, at the all-girls Immaculate Heart High School in Sacramento is hardly a saint in the making — or is she? She drinks, fights with her mother, smokes, loses her virginity to a boy who patronizingly reassures her not to be concerned, that she will have plenty of unspecial sex in her life.

But isn’t that exactly the kind of life that grace touches with redemption? In his review, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron described the film as being about “that strange and surprising breakthrough of grace” that makes a saint.

Beyond offering positive, three-dimensional characters in the form of women religious and priests, the film offers a positive depiction of a Catholic school — which students call Immaculate Fart. Of course they do.

The film’s director, Greta Gerwig, acknowledged that “Lady Bird” is largely autobiographical, and also that she wanted to show “the things that were beautiful about” Catholic education.

Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org) recommends parents watch “Lady Bird” with their teens 16 and older. The site offers discussion topics, including thinking about how the film shows teen sex, and encourages parents to talk with their teens about their values on sex and relationships.