In the very first scene of “Moos”—a delightful but somewhat thin romantic comedy from the Netherlands—the eponymous Moos is pretending to use a steam iron as a makeshift microphone. This shy, lovely woman in her early 20s desperately wants to be a singer. Instead, she is trapped into helping out in her family’s textile shop in the center of Jewish Amsterdam. Almost every inch of the shop is filled with bolts of fabric that clearly leave no room for the time and space Moos needs to realize her dreams. In the mix is also her widower father, who is so dependent on her she even clips his fingernails.

Later in the evening, Moos celebrates the first night of Hanukkah with her extended, quirky family. Enter Sam, Moos’ childhood friend who has just returned from an extended stay in Israel. His reappearance in Moos’ life means that he can relieve Moos in the shop, allowing her to apply to a prestigious performing arts academy.


But in the tradition of the screwball comedy, things don’t quite turn out as planned. While Moos garners the sympathy and attention of one of the academy’s vocal teachers, she eventually fails her audition. Instead of confessing her rejection to her family, she pretends to attend classes. She further covers her blunder by taking a job at the school’s canteen. She’s also accepted an offer from the handsome yet roguish vocal teacher to take private lessons, and it’s no surprise when an illicit love affair ensues.

There are complications with Sam too. The moment Moos sees him, the audience knows these two are made for each other. To reinforce the point, there are lovely flashbacks of Moos and Sam as children. Predictably, it takes Moos a while to realize that she was meant to be with the boy next door.

As Jewish-themed films go, “Moos” is subtle and light. The lifecycle events that come up are organic to the story. There is the Hanukkah scene followed a bit later by an intense circumcision ceremony, and ultimately a crowded bar mitzvah. By this point in the plot, Moos’ father has found love with a domineering girlfriend, whose son is about to become a bar mitzvah. The boy’s preparations for the big day, threaded throughout the film, form an alternate soundtrack.

On the day of the bar mitzvah, the camera lingers on the beautiful synagogue with its raised bima, or platform, set squarely in the men’s section. The men wear prayer shawls and gather around the Torah. Like another festival film, “The Women’s Balcony,” the women must watch the action from the balcony as the bar mitzvah boy comes down with a severe case of stage fright. Moos, though, comes to the rescue. It’s a poignant moment and a sharp contrast to her own case of nerves. Earlier in the film, she surreptitiously entered the performing arts academy’s student recital and ran off the stage mid-performance. Moos’ father and his girlfriend were in attendance, and her ruse was finally revealed when her vocal coach publicly denounces her. These dramatic events send Moos into a tailspin. When she finally decides to face her situation, redemption is around the corner. Her own diffidence ends with a fantastic climax, where she sings a duet with the real-life Israeli pop star Asaf Hertz.

“Moos” may not be great cinema, but it’s an entertaining, feel-good mid-summer movie. And throughout the entire 91-minute film, the audience can’t help but root for this sweet young woman.

“Moos” will be screened on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. at West Newton Cinema as part of the Boston Jewish Film Festival’s Summer Cinematheque series.