Keanu Reeves facial expressions: The actor's many faces, ranked.

The Many Facial Expressions of Keanu Reeves, Ranked

The Many Facial Expressions of Keanu Reeves, Ranked

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Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 27 2014 4:30 PM

A Complete Field Guide to the Facial Expressions of Keanu Reeves

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The many faces of Keanu, ranked.

Vulture

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

In Keanu Reeves's new movie, John Wick, he plays a stone-faced contract killer—perfect casting for an actor famous for his otherworldly impassiveness. Ha-ha, you might say, Keanu Reeves is playing another role where he doesn't have to emote. But those who joke about Keanu and his immobile face haven't been paying attention.

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This is an updated version of a post that originally ran on Dec. 11, 2008.

The Matrix Revolutions

© Warner Bros. Ent. All rights reserved.

Emotion: Baseline Keanu-ness

Year depicted:
2003

Habitat:
The Matrix Revolutions
Field notes:
The purest, most basic facial expression of Keanu, aided by wraparound sunglasses.

Kean-u-meter:
0

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Vulture

The Matrix Reloaded

© Warner Bros. Ent. All rights reserved.

Emotion: Unconsciousness

Year depicted:
2003

Habitat:
The Matrix Reloaded
Field notes:
Keanu is in the Matrix.

Kean-u-meter:
1

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Vulture

The Day the Earth Stood Still

20th Century Fox

Emotion: Alienation

Year depicted:
2008

Habitat:
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Field notes:
Keanu is a literal alien.
Kean-u-meter:
1

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Vulture

My Own Private Idaho

New Line Cinema

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Emotion: Concern

Year depicted:
1991

Habitat:
My Own Private Idaho
Field notes:
“When will my friend awaken?” wonders Keanu.

Kean-u-meter:
1

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Vulture

Little Buddha

Mirimax

Emotion: Serenity

Year depicted:
1993

Habitat:
Little Buddha
Field notes:
Keanu is Siddhartha.

Kean-u-meter:
1

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Vulture

River's Edge

Island Pictures

Emotion: Annoyance

Year depicted:
1986

Habitat:
River’s Edge
Field notes:
Keanu’s impassive face excels at covering up lies, as when he plays a character who isn’t telling his mother about a dead body.

Kean-u-meter:
1

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Vulture

Sweet November

Warner Bros.

Emotion: Confusion

Year depicted:
2001

Habitat:
Sweet November
Field notes:
A classic Keanu expression, and one that can be found in nearly every Keanu habitat.
Kean-u-meter:
1

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Vulture

Johnny Mnemonic

TriStar Pictures

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Emotion: Thoughtfulness

Year depicted:
1995
Habitat:
Johnny Mnemonic
Field notes:
The futuristic headgear gives this facial expression a certain poignancy it might otherwise lack.

Kean-u-meter:
1

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Vulture

Chain Reaction

20th Century Fox

Emotion: Mild consternation

Year depicted:
1996

Habitat:
Chain Reaction
Field notes:
Keanu is watching a physics experiment go awry. (We’re pretty sure his eyes are really wide behind the goggles.)

Kean-u-meter:
2

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Vulture

Thumbsucker

Sony Pictures Classics

Emotion: Sympathy

Year depicted:
2005

Habitat:
Thumbsucker
Field notes:
Keanu is reaching out to a troubled teenage boy.

Kean-u-meter:
2

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Vulture

Hardball

Paramount

Emotion: Pensiveness

Year depicted:
2001

Habitat:
Hardball
Field notes:
Notice the slight tilt of the head, which distinguishes this from Thoughtfulness.
Kean-u-meter:
2

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Vulture

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Screen Media Films

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Emotion: Contemplation

Year Depicted
: 2009

Habitat
: The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
Field Notes
: Keanu is lost in thought.

Kean-u-meter
: 2

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Vulture

Henry's Crime

Moving Pictures Film and Television

Emotion: Worry

Year Depicted
: 2011

Habitat
: Henry’s Crime
Field Notes
: Keanu’s wife Debbie has just asked him if he wants children.

Kean-u-mete
r: 2

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Vulture

A Scanner Darkly

Warner Independent Pictures

Emotion: Animated

Year depicted:
2006

Habitat:
A Scanner Darkly
Field notes:
The slight droop of Keanu’s left eye is more apparent in this habitat than in any other.

Kean-u-meter:
2

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Vulture

Point Break

20th Century Fox

Emotion: Exhilaration

Year depicted:
1991

Habitat:
Point Break
Field notes:
A rare sighting of the flighted Keanu.

Kean-u-meter:
3

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Vulture

The Lake House

Warner Bros. Pictures

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Emotion: Overwhelming joy

Year depicted:
2006

Habitat:
The Lake House
Field notes:
Keanu has just narrowly escaped death to find the woman he loves after two years of searching.
Kean-u-meter:
3

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Vulture

Much Ado About Nothing

The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Emotion: Scheming

Year depicted:
1993

Habitat:
Much Ado About Nothing
Field notes:
Simply adding facial hair to Keanu can increase his Kean-u-meter by one to two points.
Kean-u-meter:
3

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Vulture

47 Ronin

Universal

Emotion: Discomfort

Year Depicted
: 2013

Habitat
: 47 Ronin
Field Notes
: Keanu is being flogged in the ass by four samurai.

Kean-u-mete
r: 3

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Vulture

Generation Um ...

Phase 4 Films

Emotion: Ecstasy

Year Depicted
: 2013

Habitat
: Generation Um ...
Field Notes
: Keanu has just eaten a cupcake.

Kean-u-meter
: 3

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Vulture

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Columbia

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Emotion: Tortured ecstasy

Year depicted:
1992

Habitat:
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Field notes:
Keanu is basically receiving a blow job from a topless female vampire.

Kean-u-meter:
3

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Vulture

Something's Gotta Give

Columbia

Emotion: Flirting

Year depicted:
2003

Habitat:
Something’s Gotta Give
Field notes:
Keanu has just met his favorite playwright.

Kean-u-meter:
3

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Vulture

The Matrix

© Warner Bros. Ent. All rights reserved.

Emotion: Awe

Year depicted:
1999

Habitat:
The Matrix
Field notes:
Keanu is saying, “Whoa.”

Kean-u-meter:
3

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Vulture

A Walk in the Clouds

20th Century Fox

Emotion: Love

Year depicted:
1995

Habitat:
A Walk in the Clouds
Field notes:
Keanu is talking to his beloved wife.

Kean-u-meter:
3

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Vulture

Sad Keanu

Emotion: Sadness

Year Depicted
: 2010

Habitat
: Park benches

Field Notes
: Just imagine how much sadder he would have been if he’d known this photo was gonna show up on 4chan.

Kean-u-meter
: 4

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Vulture

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Paramount Classics

Emotion: Aggression

Year depicted:
2000

Habitat:
The Gift
Field notes:
Keanu is threatening small children. Once again, facial hair adds to the Kean-u-meter score.
Kean-u-meter:
4

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Vulture

Man of Tai Chi

RADiUS-TWC

Emotion: Gloating

Year Depicted
: 2013

Habitat
: Man of Tai Chi
Field Notes
: Keanu has just vanquished an enemy.

Kean-u-meter
: 4

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Vulture

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Orion Pictures

Emotion: Fear

Year depicted:
1989
Habitat:
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Field notes:
A group of medieval knights are seconds away from killing Keanu.

Kean-u-meter:
4

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Vulture

The Replacements

Warner Bros.

Emotion: Gratitude

Year depicted:
2000

Habitat:
The Replacements
Field notes:
Keanu has just been offered a ride by a hot NFL cheerleader.

Kean-u-meter:
4

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Vulture

Street Kings

Fox Searchlight

Emotion: Mild anger

Year depicted:
2008

Habitat:
Street Kings
Field notes:
Keanu just learned his boss is behind it all.

Kean-u-meter:
5

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Vulture

Parenthood

Universal

Emotion: Lust

Year depicted:
1989

Habitat:
Parenthood
Field notes:
Clearly, Keanu is overwhelmed by his own sexiness.

Kean-u-meter:
5

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Vulture

Constantine

Warner Bros.

Emotion: Determination

Year depicted:
2005

Habitat:
Constantine
Field notes:
Keanu is about to punch a demon while wearing brass knuckles.

Kean-u-meter:
6

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Vulture

Speed

20th Century Fox

Emotion: Severe anger

Year depicted:
1994

Habitat:
Speed
Field notes:
The bus burning behind Keanu was driven by his friend.

Kean-u-meter:
6

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Vulture

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey

Orion Pictures

Emotion: Triumph

Year depicted:
1991

Habitat:
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
Field notes:
Surprisingly, this lively facial expression is exhibited by Keanu while portraying a murderous robot.
Kean-u-meter:
7

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Vulture

The Devil's Advocate

Warner Bros. Pictures

Emotion: Infernal rage

Year depicted:
1997

Habitat:
The Devil’s Advocate
Field notes:
Satan himself, enraged that his protégé, Keanu, has shot himself in the head, adopts Keanu’s form and screams at the sky while bearing wings made of fire.

Kean-u-meter:
9. Unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon.

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Vulture

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Columbia

Emotion: Horror, revulsion

Year depicted:
1992

Habitat:
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Field notes:
Keanu has just watched three vampires devour a baby.

Kean-u-meter:
10. This is the highest rating ever achieved on the Kean-u-meter, and is offered as an example of the acting heights Keanu can reach.

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Vulture

Dan Kois edits and writes for Slate’s culture department. He is writing a book called How to Be a Family and co-writing, with Isaac Butler, an oral history of Angels in America.