Following his breakthrough with 'Mean Streets', Scorsese directed this feature. Coming hot off her success in 'The Exorcist', the studio granted Ellen Burstyn total creative control over this project. She had two goals: to make a film about woman with real-life problems, and to secure an up-and-coming film maker as the director. While impressed with Scorsese's talent after viewing 'Mean Streets', Burstyn still hesitated to hire the director, fearing he could only direct men. When she asked Scorsese what he knew about women, Scorsese replied "Nothing, but I'd like to learn." Satisfied with his enthusiasm, Burstyn immediately hired Scorsese. With 'Boxcar Bertha', it was Scorsese's 2nd feature with a woman as a leading character something that he will never do anymore. Anyway, he was already a very good director and I thought that the whole thing was just very well made. Furthermore, Ellen Burstyn is a hell of actress, criminally underrated, and gives here one of her best perfomances. Still, even though Roger Ebert is a huge fan of this movie, I can't say I was really blown away. Indeed, even though the characters were rather interesting, I didn't care much about the story though. To conclude, I don't think it belongs to Martin Scorsese's best work but it is still a decent drama and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in Scorsese's work.