The opening scene grabs you. You are never let go. The concept of Elan is an extremely difficult subject to communicate. I am very impressed with the way it was presented in The Last Stop. This film is wonderfully artistic and impeccably edited. The production as a whole is excellent. I think Director Todd Nilssen has real talent and I know we will be seeing more of his work in the future. I implore every one of you to watch this riveting documentary; it is just the tip of the iceberg. As a former Elan resident (1982-1983) it was extremely hard to watch. I can only imagine how hard this movie was to make by a former Elan Resident. It is a difficult story to tell, especially with the cult like language Elan used for programming. I was impressed with the way Todd was able to convey what a day in Elan was like. The animated parts were beautifully spliced into the film. Constant fear and anxiety was exposed to the audience in a very comprehensive manner. The interviews were brutally honest and although Tracy Hutchinson and I attended Elan a decade apart from each other the feelings and thoughts she expressed were exactly the same as mine. Life after Elan was a major adjustment. Many of my peers are dead. It would take hours to portray the horrific sadistic abuses I witnessed at Elan. I believe The Last Stop accomplished a certain amount of objectivity about Elan that I certainly would not have been able to achieve had I been creating the documentary. The Directors and staff at Elan honestly felt that they were helping us. "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." C.S. Lewis, Many of us tried to tell this story after leaving Elan; we felt the need to do something about the place. To see it closed. Nobody, (including myself pre Elan) could believe that Children were allowed to be so horribly abused under the guise of therapy. It was beyond cruel and unusual punishment. I still find it hard to believe Elan was allowed to operate unregulated for 40 years. I personally spent 10 of those years trying to close it down. When Elan finally closed their doors in 2011 it was a bittersweet moment because I realized just how huge the Troubled Teen Industry had grown over the decades. I felt the ending left something to be desired. I was left with an unresolved feeling of "now what?" Most documentaries in this genre are shown to motivate some type of change. I believe this was the intent of the film but it did not direct the viewer to any further course of action. The Troubled Teen Industry has expanded to out of control UNREGULATED proportions. This was touched upon several times throughout the documentary but in my opinion could have been expanded upon at the end of the film. The Last Stop is definitely a documentary you do not want to miss! The Government Accountability Office investigated Residential treatment programs for teens and testified during the House Committee on Education and Labor on October 10th, 2007. After the G.A.O. Investigated Abuse in Residential Treatment Programs for Teens they needed a whole separate investigation into the Deceptive Marketing by Residential Programs for Teens. Both of these hearings can be watched on YouTube by searching Congressional "Hearing on Cases of Child Neglect and Abuse at Residential Treatment Facilities" and Congressional "Hearing on "Child Abuse and Deceptive Marketing by Residential Programs for Teens" Clips from these hearings are seamlessly woven into The Last Stop. As mentioned in the documentary legislation to regulate the Troubled Teen Industry has passed the house several times and died in the Senate. Please help pass this legislation. H.R.3024 - 115th Congress (2017-2018) Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2017 This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to require programs designed to modify behaviors of children in a residential environment (covered programs) to prohibit child abuse and neglect and meet other specified minimum standards. HHS shall: (1) Implement a review process for overseeing, investigating, and evaluating reports of child abuse and neglect at covered programs; and (2) Establish a process to assist states in the oversight and enforcement of this bill. HHS must refer any violation of minimum standards to the Department of Justice for appropriate action. The bill amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to establish additional eligibility requirements for grants to states to prevent child abuse and neglect at residential programs. The text of the Original bill can be found at congress(dot)gov by searching "H.R.911 Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009 111th Congress (2009-2010)
The Last Stop
The Last Stop
The Elan School was the last stop. Set deep in the woods of Maine, Elan delivered controversial therapy to troubled teens. It was a meat grinder of raw emotion and harsh discipline. Some ...
November 12, 2020