If Spielberg’s account of the Holocaust is not his greatest movie, it is still the defining moment of his career, the point where his yearning to be taken seriously (The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun) finally fully merged with his filmmaking talents. Schindler’s List brought Spielberg to a new level because he was able to consistently reign in his sentimentality. Before, it was either disastrous (The Color Purple) or appropriately overflowing (E.T.). With its documentary-like distance, Schindler’s List knew that the emotions its horrors would elicit needed no manipulation. Applying his talent in small but formidable doses – colorizing the one girl’s coat – Spielberg learned restraint in the nick of time. Life is not beautiful in Spielberg’s Holocaust, just as it shouldn’t be.