Book Review: Hello Keanu! is a poetic love letter to everyones favourite Hollywood icon

“Here, one man becomes a multiplicity. Here, the star is both indie and a block, busting.” – Scott-Patrick Mitchell, “Hello Keanu”

Canadian actor Keanu Reeves has captured hearts around the globe with his thrilling action blockbusters on screen and genuine affable nature off-screen. Hello Keanu! is a quirky love-letter to the actor from the contemporary poets of Australia, compiled and edited by Emily Sun and Sarah Yeung, and paying homage to both his iconic roles and his impact on fans around the world.

Making use of a variety of contemporary and experimental poetry techniques, Hello Keanu! blazes across Reeves’s filmography, referencing interviews and public appearances, and alights on his real-life kindness and genorisity in a demonstration of deep admiration from his fandom.

There are of course references to his best-known roles and movies – Neo in The Matrix, John Wick, Ted from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures, Johnny Utah in Point Break, and Jack Traven in Speed – but it also delves deeper into some perhaps lesser known roles in films like Always Be My Maybe, My Own Private Idaho, The Lake House, The Spongebob MovieThumbsucker, and his position as the bassist in rock band Dogstar. There are also plenty of references to his personal life, including his family heritage, and of course, lots and lots of dogs and puppies despite Reeves not actually owning a dog.

Perhaps my favourite poem in the collection is Lin Blythe‘s “Enough Money for Centuries”, which, in addition to recognising his generosity and philanthropy, not only shows the range of films Reeves has appeared in, but also makes note of the less-than-flattering reviews of his performances. It’s hard to imagine, reading this anthology filled with love, enthusiasm and admiration, that there was a time when Keanu Reeves was not as popular as he is now – where his acting might be considered lack-lustre and forgettable, where people might laugh if you said you loved Keanu Reeves. In this day and age, where his winning personality and kindness have won over the world, he is, as Miriam We Wei Lo says in her poem “breaking out/fitting in” ‘the internet’s favourite boyfriend’.

Philippa Moore‘s blackout poem “The Matrix: Blackout” (another personal favourite) begins with ‘Keanu hype is justified’ and indeed the poets in the collection just keep giving us more reasons to love the Hollywood hearthrob. As they share some of the most intimate reasons why they have connected with him, these poems demonstrate the larger power of art and cinema in helping people around the world connect with one another.

Of course it helps that Reeves is a genuinely nice guy with a ton of reasons to respect and adore him, but the sheer power of art, of cinema and poetry, to bring this diverse and eclectic group of people (and their readers) together in joint love of the actor, also leaves you with a lingering sense of belonging and understanding.


Hello Keanu! edited by Emily Sun and Sarah Yeung is available now from Momolo Books.

Jess Gately

Jess Gately is a freelance editor and writer with a particular love for speculative fiction and graphic novels.