Of the three in Doubt, Viola Davis seems to be capturing the hearts of critics. NPR’s Bob Mondello says:
The film’s most wrenching performance, in fact, comes from Viola Davis, who plays the boy’s worried mother as a woman who is in no position to raise her voice, even when articulating a startlingly unexpected parental position on what may have transpired between the priest and her son.
The others argue strenuously and occasionally even eloquently, to ever-diminishing effect; Davis speaks plainly and quietly, and leaves not a shadow of a doubt that the moral high ground is a treacherous spot to occupy in the real world.
And the Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday writes:
Just when you begin to think you know who the cat and mouse really are, in steps Viola Davis to steal not just her scene but the entire movie from Streep. As the mother of the student in question, Davis presents “Doubt” with its most sobering and finally haunting philosophical quandaries, which give even the implacable Sister Aloysius a glimpse of life beyond her own unassailable ideals.