Of all the people who might have a going interest in the meaning of life, teens in love are among the most likely. Add in terminal cancer, and you get The Fault in Our Stars, a young adult novel and movie that's nominally about relationships and romance, but secretly an ode to amateur philosophy.
This pairing of plot devices makes intuitive sense: Dying people face the unknown, forced to try and feel okay about the lives they've lived; and teens face endless days trapped inside their own heads, feeling all the feelings, trying to make sense of their hormone-riddled worlds.
The two main characters, cancer-ridden teen lovers Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, spend a lot of time talking in vaguely cosmological language. "Even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever," Hazel says in her first act of flirting with Gus. "There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”
It's meant to be wry, but also earnest. This is the perfect pickup line for a bookish 17-year-old: It's winningly bleak and smart-sounding, but it's also grand. She cuts right through the metaphysical noise: Every interaction, even oblique flirtation with a boy, is framed against the inevitable end of human existence.